Mercury, the closest planet to our sun, is a very hot planet, with daytime temperatures reaching 430°C. However, the planet has cooled considerably over the years as its interior became colder.
Real Pictures of Mercury
Mercury was a lava planet billions of years ago, when the rocks on its surface melted. As a result, the planet’s surface reached temperatures of at least 600°C, potentially as high as 1300°C.
The lava in Raditladi crater on Mercury is much less runny than water. However, it can still travel for great distances before stopping. This is because the surface of the lava hardens, forming an insulating layer that keeps the lava flowing.
The lava was likely caused by a volcanic eruption or by the surface becoming so hot it melted the rock crust.
The smooth surface of Rustaveli, Copland, Polygnotus, and Rachmaninov craters are signs of lava flow.
Rachmaninov crater shows evidence of lava bubbling up from beneath the surface. Angkor Vallis shows clear signs of smooth lava flow from high to low ground, taking up vast swathes of the planet and turning it the orange colour we see today.
The area north east of Rachmaninov on Mercury is likely formed by volcanic activity. MESSENGER took detailed photographs of the area and found that it was covered in a fine dust.
The final indicator of volcanic activity on Mercury hints at eruptions so destructive that whole chunks were scooped out of the planet. The central peak of the crater Navoi is neither perfectly rounded nor tear-drop-shaped.
Scientists think that a crater on Mercury was not formed by an impact, but by the force of an erupting volcano. The crater’s remnants are scattered around the planet, and tell the story of a violent past.
So yes, there are definitely real pictures of Mercury. We hope you enjoyed exploring the solar system with us.
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