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Messenger to encounter Mercury in...

...one hour, 13 minutes (and counting down)! This is the first mission to Mercury in more than 30 years, and we'll start seeing close-up images as soon as Messenger gets into better position to transmit to us.

Click the image to see the story.

We don't fully understand how Mercury formed: It is mostly - 65% - iron, about double the other Inner Planets, with much of the balance made up of magnesium and iron silicates. Is its odd composition due to its proximity to the Sun, with the Sun's energy blasting away the lighter materials? Is Mercury perhaps only the core of a world destroyed in an ancient battle?

Perhaps we'll find out soon. I'm personally hoping we find evidence of slagged alien obelisks that had once been buried hundreds of miles below the surface.




( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Random encounter ahead!
Apparently my friend Meri Rubeling is going to be in your 590 class this semester. Treat her nice or she might kill you with her sliver deck. :D

The world, it just keeps getting smaller, no?
Jan. 14th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Random encounter ahead!
Oh, fun! You'll have to bring her along to Game Day next time.

Jan. 14th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
I'm guessing it's mostly iron because of a collision. That's the leading explanation for the Moon, so it's reasonable to assume that the Moon wasn't the only object formed that way.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )