The planet Mercury has been a mystery to astronomers for a long time. NASA spacecraft MESSENGER has revealed new information that will help future generations understand the planet.
The closest planet to the sun may have a liquid core and ancient magnetic field that is an estimated 4 billion years old. That means that the magnetic field is older than the Earth itself.
“MESSENGER was launched in 2004 and spent a decade in space, orbiting Mercury for a total of four years. It has provided more data about the planet than any other mission to date, sending vast quantities of data back to Earth until it ran out of fuel. The mission had only been meant to last a year,” explains Dan Taylor for the National Monitor.
The planet does not change as much as others in the solar system. The elevation relatively goes unchanged for long periods of time. This contrasts with the landscape of Mars.
According to Tony D. Booth for Market Business, “The planet’s crust is large relative to the planet, comprising 85 percent of the planet’s radius, much more than Earth. The findings suggest that a layer of liquid iron sulfide lies beneath Mercury’s crust, which would make the planet much different from the other terrestrial planets.”
It is quite possible that what we know about Mercury will change in the very near future. Its behavior requires much more attention and observation.