However, unlike its contemporaries (Venus, Earth, and Mars), it has a very big metallic core in comparison to its crust and mantle. Mercury's total mass is roughly 0.330 × 10 x 24 kg, which equates to 330,000,000 trillion metric tons (or the equivalent of 0.055 Earths). It is the smallest planet in terms of mass.
Mercury is also the closest planet to the Sun. So not only is it exposed to intense heat, but it also suffers greatly from solar wind particles, which destroy or contaminate any organic material that may be present on the surface.
In addition, because it is so close to the Sun, there is no place on Mercury where one can find permanent water ice. All the water we know about today was delivered by meteorites or interstellar gas clouds that hit the planet.
But even with all this, many scientists are still interested in learning more about Mercury because it provides us with important information about our Solar System and ourselves.
Mercury's core is extraordinarily big, accounting for over 70% of the planet. It is most likely made of molten iron and nickel and is in charge of the planet's magnetic field. Above the metallic core lies a 500-kilometer-thick rocky mantle. The rest of Mercury is made up of water, which accounts for 35% of the mass.
Almost all the mercury on Earth comes from volcanic eruptions. When lava cools down, it becomes rock, which is very hard. This means that mercury will be trapped inside the rock unless something breaks it free. For example, heat can melt rock, causing gases to escape through fissures or cracks. This can release some of the mercury locked up in the solid form into the atmosphere. Rain then washes the mercury away from the surface back into the sky where it vaporizes again.
The amount of mercury in the atmosphere is still high enough to be a problem for humans. But it is being removed when people burn coal or oil, so there are no longer any new sources of pollution contributing to global warming.
Earth's crust is made of old oceanic crust that has been pushed up by tectonic plates. As you go deeper down below the crust, hotter rocks are found. The deepest part of our planet is also the hottest: almost 3000 degrees Celsius.
Mercury is one-half of Mars. It has a two-thirds iron-alloy core and an uncompressed density of 5.3 (Earth's is only 4.08), making it the densest planet. Mercury is the first of the Solar System's resources.
Mercury is a naturally occurring component of the earth's crust, with an average abundance of approximately 0.05 mg/kg and significant local variations. It is found in two main forms: elemental mercury and organic mercury. Organic mercury consists of three small molecules called methylmercury, which is toxic. Elemental mercury is also toxic but because it is more reactive it can bind to other elements in the environment and transform them into new substances that are also toxic.
Around 5 million tons of mercury are released into the atmosphere each year, mostly as a result of coal burning. This amount represents about 1% of the total volume of mercury on Earth. Most mercury released into the atmosphere is oxidized by sunlight to produce sulfur dioxide and water vapor. Some of this gas then returns to Earth in volcanic eruptions or as rain drops, while the rest escapes into the atmosphere where it spreads around the planet.
Most mercury on Earth is contained in fish scales and teeth. Fish eat other animals - especially smaller fish who eat bacteria-laden waters rich in organic matter. These areas of high organic matter content provide many opportunities for mercury to be locked up in the fish food chain. Fish are also very efficient at storing energy so they tend to contain large amounts of mercury.
Mercury has the smallest and least massive planet in the solar system due to gravity. Mercury, on the other hand, has a surface gravity of 3.7 m/s2, which is the equivalent of 0.38 g due to its high density—a robust 5.427 g/cm3, which is just slightly lower than Earth's 5.514 g/cm3. That makes it difficult for humans to live on Mercury because the pressure from its dense atmosphere would be very severe.
The strength of mercury's gravitational field decreases as you move away from its center. The gravitational force on an object near the planet's equator is 2.5 times stronger than one near the pole. This is because the mass of mercury is not evenly distributed - there is more material near its core which causes the overall effect of gravity to be greater.
The average density of mercury is nearly identical to that of iron, which means that mercury is relatively easy to mold like plastic. It also explains why there are no magnetic fields on either Mercury or Venus; they both have extremely dense atmospheres that completely cover their surfaces which prevents any electromagnetic radiation from escaping through space.
Although Mercury has the weakest gravitational field of all the planets, it still has enough power to cause major problems for anyone who visits or lives on the planet. The surface gravity of Mercury is about 90% that of Earth which means that you would weigh almost twice as much there as on our planet!
Planetary Fact Sheet-Earth Values Ratio
Mercury is the solar system's smallest terrestrial planet, measuring roughly one-third the size of Earth. It has a thin atmosphere, which allows temperatures to fluctuate between scorching and freezing. Mercury, like Earth, is a dense planet made largely of iron and nickel, with an iron core. However it is not as well protected by ice caps or other forms of surface water as Earth does, so most of its surface is very hot. The only area that is not too hot to stand on is the coldest part of its southern hemisphere, where small mountains range in height from 1,000 to 4,450 miles (1,609 to 7,200 km). These features were formed by impacts with other planets or large asteroids.
Because of its intense heat, only relatively simple organic compounds can be formed on Mercury, and those that are found there have altered into different substances by radiation from the sun. Therefore, life as we know it could not exist on this planet.
However, some scientists believe that early forms of life may have originated on Mercury. They say that because it is so hostile to life as we know it, any original organisms would have had to be hardy creatures that were able to cope with the harsh conditions there. Thus, they argue that if life ever did begin on Mercury, it might have done so independently from any life on Earth-for example, by forming a self-sustaining cycle of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid.
21.2 million atoms of mercury weigh about 1/150,000 of a gram or less than 0.000001% of the mass of the sun. The solar mass is about 2x1030 kg or 4x1033 bytes. Thus, one tiny droplet of mercury weighs as much as 21 million billion billion (2100) suns.
This estimate is based on the mean density of the sun, which is about 1030 kg per m3. If we assume that mercury is distributed uniformly through out the sun, then the total mass of mercury can be estimated to be about 2x1030 km3 or 4x1029 kg, which is very close to the actual value.
Mercury has a very low density; at the surface of the sun it is vaporized. However, under the thickest part of the sun's atmosphere, called the corona, mercury has a density similar to that of iron. Thus, even if all of the mercury did not escape but rather sank down into the core of the sun, it would still be a heavy element and contribute significantly to the sun's weight.