More From Mercury

Hey Space Bloggers!

Messenger is going to stay in orbit around Mercury for an entire year. We don’t have that long, but we could hang around a couple more days, just to see what Messenger is up to. So far, it’s been taking some pretty detailed pictures with its very cool dual imaging system. Like these, just released yesterday.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

But a fancy camera isn’t all Messenger has in its payload.  I hear there are six more scientific instruments and a radio science experiment, all built to withstand the extreme conditions on Mercury. Why do we care, you might well ask? I mean, this planet looks pretty bleak, right? Well, NASA scientists are about as curious as cats, and they have lots of questions. Like are those black plains actually hardened lava flows from fiery volcanic eruptions? If so, when was Mercury erupting and why did it stop? (or did it?) And what is that shiny white stuff inside some of the craters? Is it ice or something else?

I have a question about that, too.  If there is ice on Mercury, does that mean there could be liquid water somewhere? And if there is water… could there be life? If not now, in the past?

What do you think? What do you want to know about Mercury?

About Jane Peddicord

Jane Ann Peddicord is an award winning author, lawyer, and space enthusiast. About her first book, NIGHT WONDERS, Laura Kraft of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii wrote, “We’ve long waited for books such as these to explain, in age-appropriate language, some of the fundamental concepts that have shaken the foundation of Physics.” Jane is represented by Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Studio and likes science, space, and springer spaniels.
This entry was posted in Destination One, Mercury, Messenger, Planets, Solar System, Space Exploration, Space Game. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to More From Mercury

  1. Excellent point, Bird of the Wind! Most scientists agree that life ‘as we know it’ (that is, more or less like us!) requires oxygen to survive. And as it turns out, Mercury does have an atmosphere, sort of, which is about 42% oxygen. The problem is that Mercury’s atmosphere is extremely thin, so thin that it is barely distinguishable from the vacuum of outer space–much too thin to sustain life as we know it. But Mercury may have had a thicker atmosphere in it’s youth. And who knows, there could be some form of life ‘NOT as we know it’.

    For more information on the requirements for life and Mercury’s atmosphere check these NASA webpages:
    http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/ask-an-astrobiologist/question/?id=589
    http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Mercury

  2. bird of the wind says:

    If there is water on mercury, that would make it more possible that there might have been life in the past on the planet but aren’t there other requirements for life as well? The presence of oxygen for example. Is there oxygen in Mercury’s atmosphere?




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