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Research indicates that Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, could have a molten core

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 planet.

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 core.

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.

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By GoatMonkey on 5/7/2007 8:12:07 AM , Rating: 3 what kind of quest do I have to do to get there?

RE: Wow...
By James Holden on 5/7/2007 8:23:57 AM , Rating: 5
If you have a good group, the entrance is just off the path to General Angerforge. People will often do Attunement to the Core during A shred of hope, which is part of the Drakefire Amulet, better known as the Onyxia key quest line.

Unfortunately, the loot sucks these days.

RE: Wow...
By vhx on 5/7/2007 7:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
I quit WoW over a year ago and I find it sad I know what you are talking about. /sigh

RE: Wow...
By Tsuwamono on 5/7/2007 9:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
all that rambling actually made sense? wow im so glad im not nearly that nerdy.

RE: Wow...
By EODetroit on 5/8/2007 1:09:47 PM , Rating: 2
That's no more nerdy than knowing how many yards Barry Sanders rushed for in 1991. Just a different kind of nerd.

And yeah when I saw Molten Core I thought of WoW too, so lol.

RE: Wow...
By captchaos2 on 5/7/2007 10:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
What, did they think it was made of cheese?

So who's the raid leader?
By Sylar on 5/7/2007 8:21:31 AM , Rating: 3
Obligatory, can I get a raid invite?

By James Holden on 5/7/2007 8:25:09 AM , Rating: 5
Only if you're specc'ed full resto.

By Alexstarfire on 5/7/2007 1:40:38 PM , Rating: 3
Well, Earth has a molten core and is farther away from the Sun than Mercury. Is it any wonder that Mercury has a molten core? I can't believe they even needed to send anything there to figure that out.

By Goty on 5/7/2007 2:26:43 PM , Rating: 2
There was no reason to assume that mercury had a molten core. Distance isn't the only contributing factor to the composition and state of a body's interior; if it was, the moon would have a molten core, too.

By cochy on 5/7/2007 2:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
What does distance from the Sun have to do with having a molten core??

It's surprising that Mercury would have a molten core, which I assume is spinning like Earth's to produce the magnetic field. These spinning cores use their own energy to power themselves, which means that over time they are slowly slow down. The larger the core the more energy is has stored, longer it will spin and produce a magnetic field. Mars for example once had a rotating molten core which made the planet much more Earthlike a billion or so years ago. It's core having long since ran out of energy, effectively killing the planet. Mercury's core would presumably be vastly smaller than that of Mars, so it still rotating would be some what of a surprise.

A single core...
By Eric Adams on 5/7/2007 5:16:46 AM , Rating: 4
... is so 20th century.

By Chernobyl68 on 5/7/2007 3:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
By Odeen on 5/8/2007 3:49:19 AM , Rating: 2
</Tony Kornheiser>

Ok and....
By FITCamaro on 5/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: Ok and....
By theapparition on 5/7/2007 7:25:07 AM , Rating: 5
Probably the same reason we want to study life at the bottom of the Mariana's Trench (we'll never live there either). We want to study it. Knowledge is power, and may be applied to other areas to help our understanding.

Besides, these researchers picked last, and all the "cool" planets were taken ;-)

RE: Ok and....
By AnnihilatorX on 5/7/2007 7:32:06 AM , Rating: 5
Alot of significant scientific discovery are spring out by accidents and totally pointless researches.

I can't think up of a better example but
Radar came by from the research of death rays

knowledge however insignificant is still knowledge

RE: Ok and....
By AnnihilatorX on 5/7/2007 7:35:12 AM , Rating: 4
Oh yeah and Issac Newton invented the theory of gravity sitting under a tree and thinking of the insignificant fact that apple falls from a tree

RE: Ok and....
By GlassHouse69 on 5/7/2007 11:07:15 AM , Rating: 1
deathlock played in this trench.

It was so metal.

RE: Ok and....
By ThisSpaceForRent on 5/7/2007 6:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
Are you referring to the Marvel comic book character, or maybe Dethklok?

RE: Ok and....
By wrekd on 5/7/2007 7:49:02 AM , Rating: 2
Science like muscle, needs flexing.

The data was there, someone just had to use it. Now this team has some "experience" in doing something "scientific". I'm betting they are planning on using that further science and their careers. Possible?

RE: Ok and....
By Avid6eek2 on 5/7/07, Rating: 0
RE: Ok and....
By theapparition on 5/7/2007 9:26:32 AM , Rating: 2
Say it slowly, M-E-R-C-U-R-Y.

And for the record, Mars is further from the sun than the Earth and has an average surface temperature of -63°C.

RE: Ok and....
By silver on 5/7/2007 9:01:21 AM , Rating: 2
How do you know we're not going to go there ? There are areas that could conceivably be visited though I would imagine this happening more with a robot as the radiation levels are extremely high as there is no atmosphere and the magnetic field is too weak. Also remember that Mercury has a 176-day rotation so anything deposited on the backside would have nearly six months to work prior to being toasted by the sun.
Lastly, research is always a worthy endeavor. I believe Mercury has as much to offer in study as any other planet. It just depends upon how close we look at it.

RE: Ok and....
By johnsonx on 5/7/2007 5:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, Mercury always has the same side facing the sun; there is no day and night at a given point on Mercury, only a day side and a night side of the whole planet.

RE: Ok and....
By masher2 on 5/7/2007 11:03:20 PM , Rating: 4
Mercury is not tidally locked to the Sun. Its in an orbital resonance. Astronomers thought it was tidally locked...up until about 50 years ago.

RE: Ok and....
By johnsonx on 5/8/2007 1:52:44 PM , Rating: 1
color me Mashed.

I've read that quite a few times over the years, even recently, so I just assumed what I read was right. Oh well, some times the best way to learn is to be wrong.

I have read the wiki on Mercury and updated my brain. Thanks Masher.

RE: Ok and....
By johnsonx on 5/8/2007 1:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
btw, it was more like 40 years ago they figured out that Mercury was in an orbital resonance instead of tidally locked. However, that's no excuse for me, since I'm only 36. Since much of my basic astronomy knowledge comes from my Mom, who is somewhat older than 40, I probably initially learned it wrong from her and never noticed the change. Mercury just isn't discussed much in school these days, and of course a lot of information in text books is outdated anyway.

RE: Ok and....
By UzairH on 5/7/2007 11:10:35 AM , Rating: 2
No offense but that is the most daft statement I have read in a while. A lot of scientific research over the centuries has been abstract with no meaningful benefits immediately visible. Mankind has been studying the stars and planets for a long time, with the major motivation being learning about the universe in which we live. And slowly but surely this knowledge becomes applicable to our earthly domain also. For instance the element helium was discovered in the sun (through spectroscopy) by astronomers even before it had been discovered on earth (hence the name helium, from helios). And indeed, it was observations of the heavenly bodies' movements by Tycho Brahe which spurred the research into motion by Kepler which led Newton to forming his laws of gravitation (not the mythical falling apple).

Sure astronauts may not be visiting the surface of mercury any time soon, but we have sent orbital probes there and new missions are under way. And who's to say that within 50 or 100 years man won't be reaching out and exploring all the planets himself. The groundwork for such missions needs to be laid now. Scientists do research that is possible now, and small discoveries like this leads to big things.

RE: Ok and....
By RamboZZo on 5/7/2007 1:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
Because its there. Have we ever really needed another reason to study a lot of the things we do?

RE: Ok and....
By cochy on 5/7/2007 2:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
Scientist must study every aspect of the Solar System including it's planets to understand it's origins. We still don't have a complete understanding of this.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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