By: Justine Buman

Mercury’s Structure

People are not sure but they think Mercury is built like Earth. It has a thick mantle, thin crust, and a big core made of iron. Mercury has a very thin atmosphere made of oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium, and potassium. Potassium is a soft silvery-white reactive metal. People are not sure how much of each of these things are in the atmosphere. Some people think that Mercury has no atmosphere at all, that is why there is no wind or other weather on Mercury.

Strange effects on Mercury

Because of Mercury’s very fast orbit but slow spin the sun rises for on full year then it sets the next year. One sunrise on Mercury to the next is called a solar day and takes 176 days because 1 year on Mercury is 88 Earth days. We can tell if a crater is new or old on Mercury because there is no flowing water to wash away the dust that is spreading from when the meteor hit Mercury. Mercury’s surface looks a lot like our moons. During the day the surface of Mercury is about 800 degrees Fahrenheit and at night it is around -280 degrees Fahrenheit. Because Mercury is very hot, has lots of craters, is very cold at night, and looks like the moon we can tell it has been without life for billions of years.

Does Mercury have rings

Right now Mercury does not have rings but it is possible that Mercury once had rings because a planet gets its rings by its moon, meteor, or asteroid getting too close to the planet. Then the moon, meteor, or asteroid is crushed into small pieces by the gravity of the planet and the chunks would start orbiting the planet. Then one day they just stopped orbiting and fell into space. It is also possible that rings could form in the future.

Why would we want to live on Mercury?

Mercury does have oxygen in its atmosphere so we could breathe on Mercury. But we are not sure how much oxygen is in the atmosphere so we might not be able to breathe very well. We could bring water with us to Mercury so we could drink it. Because the planet has an iron core and is built like Earth we would be able to stand on it and build houses on the surface. People could get jobs there finding iron and other useful materials in the surface of Mercury. We could build special space suits that could stand Mercury’s heat during the day and coldness at night. But all that glitters is not gold.

Fun Facts

  • Mercury is the planet closest to the sun but Mercury is not the hottest planet.
  • Mercury is the smallest planet.
  • Mercury's year is 88 days, that is shorter than any other planet's year.
  • People think there is no water on the surface of Mercury but there is water inside Mercury.
  • There might be ice in the craters of Mercury that never get heated by the sun. The craters are near the axis of Mercury.
  • Some people also think there is no air in the very thin almost nothing atmosphere but think there is air inside Mercury.
  • Half of Mercury had never been seen until 2008 when the MESSENGER few by Mercury and took some pictures.
  • When Mariner 10 flew by Mercury it detected a faint magnetic field around Mercury.