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
Posted by Steven Hauck on 2016/12/20 10:01 CST
2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of what has become one of the primary venues for the publication of research in planetary science: the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. This occasion is a good opportunity to look back at what we have learned in this era of expanded exploration and to try to take a peek at the future.
At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the MESSENGER team held a press briefing to share results from the recent few months of incredibly low-altitude flight over Mercury's surface. The mission will last only about five weeks more.
Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.
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.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.