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Scientists Reveal the Mystery of Mercury’s Surface

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Scientists Reveal the Mystery of Mercury’s Surface

There was a degree of mystery that once surrounded the surface of Mercury. The dark surface was one believed to be the product of carbon dust that had shed as comets struck the surface. NASA’s Messenger recently collected data during its final orbit. The results confirmed that carbon does indeed cover the surface of the planet.

But the carbon on the surface of the planet might not actually be the result of comets. Instead, it might be the actual remains of what was once Mercury. According to the Washington Post, scientists believe that the comets that have been striking the planet are actually uncovering a dark carbon distance already there. That is why the surface appears darker than it should be. Additionally, the lack of atmosphere and violent solar winds continue to slam against the planet and this releases ions into the surrounding area.

Some researchers believe the surface may even be graphite. Their reasoning is that the only areas where the black is the darkest, are in sections where there are impact craters on the planet. This could mean there is more to explore beneath the planet’s surface.

Since there is a common belief that Mercury once was covered in an ocean of magma, the reality is that the substance began to sink below the surface and left remains behind that crystallized on the surface of the planet. Since graphite is lighter than magma, it would push upwards and that is why it might be on the top of the surface. Of course, there is still plenty of mysteries to still be solved on this planet.

Resource: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/03/07/scientists-reveal-the-secret-behind-mercurys-unusually-dark-surface/

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