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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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