Station Info :: Nine Planet Solar System ::
Space Mercury :: Physical Characteristics of Mercury
Physical Characteristics of Mercury
Mercury has a mean surface temperature of 452 K, but it ranges from 90-700 K; The sunlight on Mercury's surface is 6.5 times as strong as it is on Earth, with the solar constant having a value of 9.13 kW/mē.
For a period of about 800 million years Mercury, was heavily bombarded by comets and asteroids. At this period of powerful crater formation, the surface established impacts above its intact surface, facilitated by the lack of any atmosphere to slow impactors down. At this time, the planet was volcanically active, and basins such as the Caloris Basin were filled by magma from within the planet, which produced smooth plains similar to the maria found on the moon. Apart from craters of diameters in the range of hundreds of meters to hundreds of kilometers, there are others of massive proportions such as Caloris, the largest structure on the surface of Mercury with a diameter of 1,300 km. The impact was so powerful that it caused lava eruptions on the crust of the planet and left a concentric ring surrounding the impact crater over 2 km high. The consequences of Caloris are also remarkable: it is broadly acknowledged as the cause for the fractures and leaks on the opposite side of the planet.
The plains of Mercury have two different ages; the younger plains are less a lot cratered and probably formed when lava flows obscured earlier terrain. One remarkable feature of the planet's surface is the abundant compression folds which criss-cross the plains. It is initiative that as the planet's interior cooled, it contracted, and its surface began to collapse. The folds can be seen on top of other features, such as the craters and smoother plains, indicating that they are more recent. Mercury's surface is also flexed by considerable tidal bulges, raised by the Sun.
Also see the
vPhysical Characteristics of Mercury
Understanding Of Mercury
vExploration Of Mercury