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Apr 18, 2019 08:35 PM EDT

Gravity Anomalies on Mercury

(Photo : NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Science Visualization Studio/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)
Gravity Anomalies on Mercury

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revisited Mercury’s spin and gravity confirming that the planet has a solid inner core.

Scientists have arrived at the conclusion by watching the way that planet mercury spins. They then measured how their spacecraft orbits the smallest innermost planet in the Solar System. NASA also used the data from the past missions to Mercury.

For so long, humanity has known the fact that Mercury has a metallic core and an outer core that is composed of liquid metal, just like the Earth. 

NASA’s Goddard Space flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland has a new study that revolves on the evidence they found that Mercury’s inner core is confirmed to be solid and roughly the same size as the inner core of the Earth.

Mercury’s metalcore is nearly about 85% of the volume of the whole planet much like a cannonball.

The planet’s large core is one of the most intriguing mysteries for scientists who study the topic.Mercury’s core is large as compared to the other rocky planets in the solar system.This recent discovery adds to the information that the scientific community currently has about Mercury. This current discovery about Mercury has implications that could help give scientists the insight as to what might happen to the Earth in the future when the core cools. 

Antonio Genova, an assistant professor of Sapienza University of Rome, explains that in order to figure out what material the interior of Mercury is made of, the team referenced data from the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission in addition to the data they have on the spin and gravity of Mercury.

The MESSENGER entered the orbit around Mercury and spent four years observing the planet nearest to the Sun from March 2011 to April 2015.

Researchers used the radio observations from MESSENGER to determine the gravitational anomalies and the location of this rotational poles. This information allows scientists to determine areas of local increases and decreases in the planet mass and also to understand the planet’s orientation.

Erwan Mazarico, A Goddard planetary scientist stated that the need to pull together information from many fields such as gravity, orbital mechanics, geochemistry, and geodesy to find out more about the internal structure of Mercury.

Genova later pointed out that the new information about Mercury or even the solar system could help us understand the makings of the universe.

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