The sole planet in our solar system's habitable zone is Earth. Mercury and Venus are not livable because they are too close to the sun to support liquid water. Mars is not livable because it has no water.
Earth orbits between 976 and 960 miles (1,542 and 1,508 kilometers) from the sun. The average distance of all planets from the sun is 92 million miles (148 million km). But due to gravitational effects from Jupiter and Saturn, Earth travels around the sun in an ellipse with a variation known as an "eccentric orbit." Our distance varies between 91 million and 96 million miles (152 million and 160 million km). As we pass through each orbital position we experience a different amount of sunlight exposure and temperature. This is why you can have seasons on Earth even though we are almost always under the shadow of either the moon or another large body.
Our location within this elliptical orbit determines which regions receive the most sunlight and heat over the course of a year. If you were standing on the South Pole at mid-winter, you would see south polar ice cap. You would also see dark blue sky filled with stars because there is no direct sunlight anywhere on Earth at that time of year.
At mid-summer, your view would be very different.
Mercury is uninhabitable because it lacks an atmosphere and has temperatures ranging from 212 to 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit (100 to 700 degrees Celsius). Their model included a planet with the same mass and circumference as Earth, as well as a similar atmosphere and surface water. However, the temperature on Mercury is over 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), much higher than what their model estimated was possible.
You may be wondering why they didn't include any effect of sunlight on Mercury in their calculations. The scientists who developed this model were only considering factors such as mass, radius, and number of oceans. They did not take into account that Mercury is always exposed to the Sun, so it must always receive some amount of sunlight. Also, water on Mercury would be very hot because there are no winds to carry away its heat, so all that water would remain at extremely high temperatures.
The fact that Mercury has no real environment other than hellish conditions means that no life could have evolved there. Even if it had some form of protection from the Sun's energy, such as a thick cloud cover, the cold would still kill anything that survived these temperatures. Scientists think that any water that did exist on Mercury would be trapped in ice caves near the planet's equator because the sun's heat would melt most of the water on the surface.
This doesn't mean that life cannot or won't evolve elsewhere in the Solar System.
Mercury is the solar system's smallest terrestrial planet, measuring around 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 also heavily eroded by radiation from the sun causing the surface to look young compared to our world.
Like the other planets, Mercury orbits the Sun once per revolution or 87 million miles. But because it is so small, this distance is very close: about 50,000 miles. The reason for this proximity is that the solar system was created in a giant explosion called a supernova, and the material out of which planets are formed was mixed with that from its star. Because mercury is so small, most of its matter ends up being blown away from the planet during these explosions. Only a small part of it is lost over time.
This is why scientists think that Mercury may have been habitable at some point in the past. There is evidence that it had an ocean covering almost all of its surface which would have kept it warm enough for life as we know it. But due to repeated bombardments by meteorites, most of this water has been erased from the planet now.
Scientists think that the first signs of life on Earth may have come from microbes living in deep underground reservoirs.
It is also highly toxic. Humans can survive on Mercury for a few days but then begin to suffer serious health problems including damage to the brain, lungs, kidneys, and liver.
The main source of contamination will be from other materials that are found within industrial society. For example, batteries contain mercury used in alarm clocks, cameras, and other small electronic devices. When they break down these substances are released into the environment. Other common sources include coal mines, gold mines, and landfill sites. Avoid contact with contaminated soil or water, or eating contaminated food. The only sure way to avoid exposure to Mercury is by not using products containing mercury-based chemicals.
In the absence of any future intervention, the Earth will continue to pass environmental safety standards for Mercury. However many technological solutions are being developed to reduce or remove mercury from the environment. These include methods of recovery from emissions, waste disposal, and techniques for removing mercury from water supplies.
It is possible to live on Mercury for some time without suffering any ill effects. However, humans should never eat any part of Mercury because it is poisonous.
Mercury meanings from science (2 of 2) Mercury. The smallest and nearest planet to the Sun in the solar system. Mercury is a terrestrial or inner planet, second only to Earth in density, with a craggy, extensively cratered surface akin to Earth's Moon. It orbits the Sun every 88 days at an average distance of 483,000 miles, much closer than any other planet except for Venus. Its year is almost entirely confined to the orbit it describes around the Sun, with only a tiny fraction spent on the ground.
Mercury is named after the Greek god of commerce and communication. He was also known as Hermes because he could fly like a bird. His main weapon was the lightning bolt, which he used to kill his father, Zeus. Today, we use this element in name brands, electronics, and tools.
The presence of mercury has been detected in the atmosphere, soil, and water of the moon. This confirms that it is indeed from our neighbor instead of coming from Earth itself. It is believed that most of the mercury present on the moon was delivered by meteoroids impacting its surface.
Human activity has released significant amounts of mercury into the environment. Anthropogenic emissions enter the atmosphere and are converted into liquid mercury drops that spread across the globe via wind and water. These emissions come from coal-fired power plants, gold mining, and dental practices among others.