publication . Article . 2004

Exploring Mercury: The Iron Planet

David J. Stevenson;
Open Access
  • Published: 11 May 2004
  • Publisher: American Geophysical Union
  • Country: United States
Planet Mercury is both difficult to observe and difficult to reach by spacecraft. Just one spacecraft, Mariner 10, flew by the planet 30 years ago. An upcoming NASA mission, MESSENGER, will be launched this year and will go into orbit around Mercury at the end of this decade. A European mission is planned for the following decade. It's worth going there because Mercury is a strange body and the history of planetary exploration has taught us that strangeness gives us insight into planetary origin and evolution. Mercury is intrinsically the densest of the planets and it must be iron-rich. Perhaps not coincidentally it has a significant magnetic field, which may me...
free text keywords: General Earth and Planetary Sciences, Uranus, Geology, Iron planet, Orbit, Astrobiology, Exploration of Mercury, Atmosphere, Mercury (element), chemistry.chemical_element, chemistry, Astronomy, Planet, Spacecraft, business.industry, business
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Article . 2004
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