Researchers around the world are using additional resources
and better technology to learn more about the planets in Earth's solar
system. U.S. scientists already believe that it is possible that up to
half of the Martian surface
is covered by ice, varying drastically in depth. This time, NASA
scientists found evidence that Mercury may have a molten core.
The NASA Mariner 10 spacecraft discovered a small magnetic field on Mercury,
something that piqued scientists' curiosity. The most logical reason
explanation for the magnetic field, according to scientists, is a molten
interior on Mercury.
Researchers then used the same popular technique that cooks use to check if an
egg is raw or hard-boiled -- spin it -- to provide further evidence of
Mercury's molten core. Using powerful telescopes in California, West
Virginia and Puerto Rico, researchers closely monitored the movements of the
Led by Cornell University's Jean-Luc Margot, the researchers studied little
twists and disruptions that Mercury's spin suffers while orbiting the
sun. The twists that interfere with Mercury's spin, called longitudinal
librations, usually occur when the sun's gravity causes alternating torques on
the planet. The magnitude of the librations during the observations was
double what would be expected from a completely solid planet. This is
further evidence that leads scientists to believe that Mercury has a molten
Mercury is the planet closest to the sun, and one year on the planet is the
equivalent of 88 Earth days. The Mercury spacecraft is expected to reach
Mercury sometime next year.