MERCURY The smallest of the eight planets and the closest to the sun..
ASTRONOMAL DATA • Orbit and Rotation- Mercury circles the sun in only 88 days, compared to 365 days here on Earth, at an average speed of 107,088 miles (172,341 km) per hour. This is faster then any other planet in the Solar System. • Distance from Sun- The minimum distance from the sun to Mercury is 28.5 million miles. The maximum distance is 43.5 million miles.
SURFACE DATA • Gravity- Mercury has a very weak gravity and nearly no atmosphere • Temperature- Although Mercury is the closest planet to the sun it’s not actually the hottest planet. Mercury’s average temperature is 332 degrees Fahrenheit (167 degrees Celsius) The day side of the planet reaches temperatures of up to 801 F (427 degrees C). The colder night side can get as cold as minus 279 F (minus 173 C). • Weather- Since Mercury has hardly any atmosphere, it doesn’t have weather like storms, clouds, winds or rain. • Composition- Mercury has a large iron core. Astronomers estimate that the rest of Mercury is composed of heavy metals and sillicates
NEARBY OBJECTS • Mercury has no moons. • Mercury is near the Sun. • There are not many objects Near Mercury.
MISSION BADGE This is Mercury’s mission badge.
HUMAN SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATIONS • The exploration of Mercury has taken only a minor role in the space interests of the world. It is the least explored inner planet. • As of 2014, the Mariner 10 and MESSENGERmissions have been the only missions that have made close observations of Mercury. • Compared to other planets, Mercury is difficult to explore. The increased speed required to reach it is relatively high, and due to the proximity to the Sun, orbits around it are rather unstable. MESSENGER is the first probe to orbit Mercury.
FUN FACTS Mercury Is the second densest planet after Earth. Mercury is only the second hottest planet after Venus Only two spacecraft have ever visited Mercury The surface of Mercury is very similar to our moon. It has a very barren, rocky surface covered with many craters. Half of Mercury had never been seen until 2008