Seared by a Sun shining ten times stronger than it does at Earth, Mercury is a burnt-out cinder, a roasted Moon-like world -- or is it? NASA's MESSENGER mission, the first orbiter of the smallest planet, has revealed a tumultuous volcanic past, enigmatic recent "hollows," and a dynamic exosphere. And it's chasing after clues from Earth-based radar surveys that Mercury could be hiding water ice in permanently shadowed craters near its poles.
Recent Blog Articles About Mercury
A new video shows what a traveler aboard Mercury's MESSENGER spacecraft would see as they zipped over the planet's north polar region.
The two spacecraft currently orbiting the two innermost planets are both flying low in their orbits in the final phases of their missions. MESSENGER just performed a rocket burn to raise its orbit slightly, while Venus Express did the opposite.
Vignettes from dozens of LPSC talks: GRAIL and LADEE at the Moon; ice and craters and conglomerates and organics and gullies on Mars; polar deposits and volatile elements on Mercury; tectonics on Enceladus; and more, until my brain was so full I could barely speak.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/02/28 01:30 CST
This video of class 4 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class discusses eclipses, Mercury, Venus, and a comparison of the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.