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Planet Overview - Mercury

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The Romans named Mercury after the fleet-footed messenger of the gods because it seemed to move more quickly than any other planet.

Mercury - What It's All About

This small, rocky planet is the closest to our Sun and the second smallest planet in our solar system. If Earth were a baseball, Mercury would be a golf ball. Mercury resembles our Moon, except without the face of the man. Hills and cliffs, which were made by meteorites, are covered by a thick layer of dust. This looks like nothing you've seen on Star Trek. The hills and cliffs are extremely high and if the sun didn't turn you into sizzlin' bacon, mountain climbing would be awesome.

Mercury - Fun Facts

  • Because Mercury is so close to our Sun, you'd think it was smoking hot. The daytime side of the planet (the one facing the Sun) is like a dream come true for those fearless fire walkers, with temperatures of over 400 degrees C (752 degrees F). However, on the night side, you'd quickly turn into a popsicle because the temperature falls to -170 degrees C (-274 degrees F).
  • One of the few areas without craters is a large flat area called Caloris Basin. This flat section, 807 miles (1,300 km) in diameter, was created by an asteroid.
  • Meteorites constantly crash into the planet.
  • On Mercury, the sun looks black because the planet has no atmosphere to scatter the sunlight.
  • One day on Mercury is 176 Earth days.

Courtesy of Pearson Prentice Hall
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