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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

Latest Geology of Mercury Stories

Step Outside And See Mercury At Sunset
2013-02-09 10:02:39

NASA Science NASA has recently discovered a very strange planet. Its days are twice as long as its years. It has a tail like a comet. It is hot enough to melt lead, yet capped by deposits of ice. And to top it all off ... it appears to be pink. The planet is Mercury. Of course, astronomers have known about Mercury for thousands of years, but since NASA's MESSENGER probe went into orbit around Mercury in 2011, researchers feel like they've been discovering the innermost planet all...

2012-11-29 16:20:19

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A NASA spacecraft studying Mercury has provided compelling support for the long-held hypothesis the planet harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials within its permanently shadowed polar craters. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The new information comes from NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. Its onboard instruments have been...

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2011-08-04 06:45:00

Seven years ago, on August 3, 2004, MESSENGER left Earth aboard a three-stage Boeing Delta II rocket to begin a journey that would take it more than 15 laps through the solar system, through six planetary flybys, and ultimately into orbit around Mercury. The spacecraft has travelled 5.247 billion miles (8.445 billion kilometers) relative to the Sun, and the team is one-third of the way through the one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet. "As exciting as it was at the...

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2011-05-09 08:21:14

On May 6th, MESSENGER began its 100th orbit around Mercury. Since its insertion into orbit about the innermost planet on March 17, the spacecraft has executed nearly 2 million commands. The data gathered so far include more than 70 million magnetic field measurements, 300,000 visible and infrared spectra of the surface, 16,000 images, and 12,000 X-ray and 9,000 gamma-ray spectra probing the elemental composition of Mercury's uppermost crust. "As the primary orbital phase of the MESSENGER...

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2010-04-01 07:23:13

The solar system's innermost planets are about to put on a beautiful show. This week, Mercury is emerging from the glare of the sun and making a beeline for Venus. By week's end, the two planets will be just 3o apart, an eye-catching pair in the deep-blue twilight of sunset. The best nights to look are April 3rd and 4th. Go outside at the end of the day and face west. Venus pops out of the twilight first, so bright it actually shines through thin clouds. Mercury follows, just below and to the...

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2010-03-29 13:20:00

The planets Mercury and Venus will put on a good show for skywatchers throughout April, according to the editors of StarDate magazine. Mercury usually is difficult to see because it seldom moves far from the Sun, but April offers a good view of Mercury because the planet is farthest from the Sun for its evening appearance and because it appears close to Venus. Look for Mercury low in the west at sunset. It looks like a bright star. Much brighter Venus, the "evening star," helps point the...

2009-04-30 13:23:00

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A NASA spacecraft gliding over the surface of Mercury has revealed that the planet's atmosphere, the interaction of its surrounding magnetic field with the solar wind, and its geological past display greater levels of activity than scientists first suspected. The probe also discovered a previously unknown large impact basin about 430 miles in diameter - equal to the distance between Washington and Boston. (Logo:...

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2008-09-12 15:35:00

It is now only slightly more than three weeks before the MESSENGER spacecraft flies by Mercury for the second time. At 4:40 a.m. ET on October 6, the craft will speed by the planet, passing within 125 miles (200 kilometers) and gaining a gravity assist that will tighten its orbit and keep it on its course to pass the planet one last time next year before becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury, beginning in 2011. A comprehensive set of observations of Mercury and its environment...

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2008-07-03 15:45:00

Scientists have argued about the origins of Mercury's smooth plains and the source of its magnetic field for more than 30 years. Now, analyses of data from the January 2008 flyby of the planet by the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have shown that volcanoes were involved in plains formation and suggest that its magnetic field is actively produced in the planet's core. Scientists additionally took their first look at the chemical composition...

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2008-01-15 19:10:00

When Mariner 10 flew past Mercury three times in 1974 and 1975, the same hemisphere was in sunlight during each encounter. As a consequence, Mariner 10 was able to image less than half the planet. Planetary scientists have wondered for more than 30 years about what spacecraft images might reveal about the hemisphere of Mercury that Mariner 10 never viewed. On January 14, 2008, the MESSENGER spacecraft observed about half of the hemisphere missed by Mariner 10. This image was snapped by the...