Mercury is a rock. It happens to be significant to many because at 36 million miles it is the closest rock to the Sun. Mercury is also a planet. [1]

Our understanding of the Solar System and Mercury

The roads leading to modern man's ability to grasp and accept the vastness of our Solar System have been slow-moving and filled with potholes.. We have come to figure out that we are not the only planet that is out there. As children, we were amazed by the idea that there might be other life besides life on earth. Though we have found no sign of life, there are some other pretty amazing things on other planets. Mercury, continues to amaze me as we continue to explore the first planet in our solar system. Though we haven't explored all of Mercury we know a lot of what this planet may have in store for future explorations.

Innermost and small

Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in our Solar System. This small planet is made of of three structures which are it's crust, mantle, and core. The crust, which is 100-200 km thick,temperatures range from about 90 to 700 K. The poles of Mercury are believed to be covered with ice due to Mercury's tilt of it's axis. Mercury's mantle is mostly solid unlike it's core. Mercury's core is made up of liquid outer core of iron and sulfur and a solid inner core composed of a mixture of iron and nickel , as on Earth. Mercury's iron core takes up about 45% of it's volume and 63% of its total mass. These three structures are what make up Mercury's inner and outer surface.

Internal Structure


Mercury's surface is full of craters and holes due to past comets and asteroids that struck the planet. The largest known craters are the enormous Caloris Basin, with a diameter of 1300 km, and the Skinakas Basin with a diameter of 1600 km. In the past Mercury's volcanoes were active and due to this activity it produced smooth plains much like "maria" ,which is found on the moon. Mercury's average temperature is 452 k or 179 degrees celsius. Mercury's sunlight is 6.5 times as intense as it is on earth. Some craters and around the north and south poles of Mercury may have ice in and surrounding them because they are never exposed to sunlight. In the depth of these craters temperatures can deminish to -173° C! In future explorations we hope to find out more about these dark depths of this planet.

Gravity and atmosphere

Mercury is a very small planet. This means that Mercury does not have much gravity. Due to the fact that there is very little gravity on Mercury, because of it's size, it is hard for Mercury to retain any form of atmosphere. Although it is hard for it to keep an atmosphere it still has some form of one. Mercury's slim atmosphere contains hydrogen, helium, oxygen, sodium, calcium, and potassium. Some studies say that Mercury's atmosphere is so small because of solar flares coming off of the sun and destroying it's atmosphere. We are not sure but with the new mission that is said to be done we should find out more details.


(Mercury Rotates on its axis in 58.6 days. This is 2/3 of its revolution period and is an example of a tidal lock or resonance. After two revolutions or three rotations, the same face of Mercury faces the Sun. (176 days) [1]

Mercury's Surface


Mercury's rotation around the sun is approximately 88 earth days or a Mercurian year. Mercury's day is approximately 59 days. The ratio of rotations (days) to rotation around the sun (year) is 3:2. This basically means that Mercury has 3 days every 2 years or 1.5 days a year if that’s possible. A sidereal day (the period of rotation) lasts about 58.7 Earth days. Which means it takes 58.7 Earth days to fully rotate and end up under the exact star you started your rotation. This is called tidal resonance.

Mariner 10

The space probe, Mariner 10, mapped out about 50%-60% of Mercury's surface. Mariner 10 also discovered Mercury's magnetic field and thin atmosphere. The latest mission, Messenger, has taken plenty of pictures of Mercury's craters and is on track to begin orbiting this planet in 2011.


Advice for Intro:

Never end a sentence with is, especially your opening sentence. Also, in an informative essay, never use first person, second person or contractions. They are very informal. Contractions are proof of our generation's laziness. =) I would start off with: People on Earth have embraced that the solar system is spacious over many long periods of time. Be sure to check spellings: Mercury (your planet!), capitalizing Mercury, a lot is two separate words in this case, and eliminating contractions. Also, check your grammar: do not repeat too many words and add commas after phrases such as "As children," ",", and "...Mercury,". Other than that, interesting introduction. =) Tiffany =) 23:18, 7 October 2008 (UTC)


Amberalbert08 Like OMG, I can't believe yall are actually here! I've never seen a human from Earth before. Well, I mean I learned about yall in school, anwayssss. My name is Nebula and of course I'm from this awesome planet you've just arrived on, Mercury. I hope you brought your sunscreen because the temperature on Mercury can reach up to 427 degrees celsius. The sunlight on Mercury is 6.5 x as intense as on Earth. Thats like hot enough to melt tin.

How do you think I got this great tan!

First of all my orders are to inform you on all the boring information. Eugh! I know sooo boring!

Well, to start off our planet is not always hot. When night comes our planet gets really really cold. Like it could get down to -183 degrees celsius.

Yea so you can just about imagine how warm our space houses have to get at night.

There is also supposed to be ice in the deep craters near Mercury's pole. Yea I know go figure, the closest planet to the fierce, burning sun having ice.

Anyways back to the boring stuff!

Our planet is the closest planet to the sun, but not the smallest. Pluto is the smallest planet. Blah, blah, blah, blah!

Oh yea, I hope yall didn't get confused with our planet Mercury to your Earth's moon because they are very similar. People get confused because its so heavily cratered just like the Earth's moon. The craters on Mercury range in diameter from a few meters to hundreds of kilometers across. The largest craters on Mercury is known to be the Caloris Basin which is 1300 km, and the Skinakas Basin that is 1600 km.

Can you imagine falling into something like that... Whow!

the atmosphere on Mercury is very different to the Earth's atmosphere. Our planet is way too small for its gravity to even retain any significant atmosphere over long periods of time. It only has a tenuous atmosphere containing hydrogen, helium, oxygen, sodium, calcium, and potassium.

Moving on to a more interesting topic...

As you already know Earth's day lasts aproximately 24 hours and the year lasts about 365 days....How weird!... Our Revolution Period lasts about 87.9 Earth days and our rotation period lasts about 58.6 Earth days, which is our sidereal day.

Wow! That's a big difference compared to Earth.

This would mean that a single day over here lasts twice as long as a year? said an Earthling.

Thats right little one.

All the Earthlings: Wowwwwwww!

That's not all! Our solar day, which is the length between two meridian transmits of the sun, is about 176 Earth days.

We are almost done. I just have one more question for yall.....Is that yall that are sending these weird looking devices up here to spy on us?

Wellll, yes and no. Astronomers from Earth used the gravity of Venus to adjust its orbital velocity so that NASA's Mariner could approach your planet, says the Earthling.

Wowwww... I never knew something like that was possible.

The second mission we sent to Mercury was the "Messenger"..... Oh and by the way it wasn't to spy, we didn't know life existed on Mercury, says another Earthling.

Well I'm living proof!....And that explains a whole lot.

Okay Earthlings, this has been a great experience talking to yall cute little humans, but the tour must go on.....Everybody put your sunscreen on and get ready for the real fun with your next instructer, Zenon.

Byyyyeeee! (waving spasticly)

Average Solar Distance: 57.8 million km
Revolution Period: 87.9 Earth days
Rotation Period: 58.6 Earth days
Equatorial diameter: 4878 km
Gravitational Pull: .38 times the Earth
Diameter: 4879.4 km
Density: 5.43 g/cm3
Mass: 3.303 x 1023 kg
Volume: 6.084 x 1010 km3
Tempature: -173° C to 427° C
Atmosphere: Some Hydrogen, Helium, Oxygen
Average Distance from Sun:57,910,000 km
Orbital Period:0 Years, 87 Days, 23.3 Hours
Rotation:58 Days, 15.5 Hours
Composition:Iron Core, Silicate Surface
Magnetic Field:Slight

External links


Work Cited:


  1. Calling Mercury a rock is the type of joke they like at Liberapedia.

Includes material from Mercury (planet)