Far-Out Guide to Mercury

Overview

Cratered Mercury is the Smallest and Fastest planet in the solar system. Temperatures there vary more than on any other planet. How do we know this?

Spacecraft from Earth have visited Mercury and taught us a lot about this tiny, rocky planet. Learn about the amazing missions, the dedicated scientists who plan them, and lots of far-out facts about the closest planet to the Sun.

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Far-Out Guide to Mercury

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Overview

Cratered Mercury is the Smallest and Fastest planet in the solar system. Temperatures there vary more than on any other planet. How do we know this?

Spacecraft from Earth have visited Mercury and taught us a lot about this tiny, rocky planet. Learn about the amazing missions, the dedicated scientists who plan them, and lots of far-out facts about the closest planet to the Sun.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Mysterious Mercury—closest to the Sun, but second hottest—is one of the planets explored in this "Far-Out Guide to the Solar System" series, offering a multitude of facts to report-writers, focusing on what astronomers know, and the many perplexing questions still to be answered. Young researchers will learn that Mercury is the smallest and fastest planet (named for the Roman messenger of the gods), with a shrinking iron core that leaves its gray surface wrinkled and cratered. Because of the Sun's intense light, this small planet has always been hard to study until astronomers began using radar telescopes in 1965. In one of the boxed "Far-Out Facts" scattered through the text, readers discover that tiny Mercury with its heavy iron core is the densest planet in our solar system. Three pages of Fast Facts add more information; for example, some of Mercury's dark craters may hold ancient frozen ice. A "Mercury Timeline of Exploration and Discovery" introduces a section about space missions that have taken a closer look at Mercury (no astronauts have landed). In 2004, space probe MESSENGER was launched, taking three-and-a-half years to make its first bypass of the planet; Carson affirms that, by combining photos with those of Mariner 10, astronomers have now seen ninety-five percent of Mercury. Illustrations are photos (color when possible), computer enhancements, paintings, and a cutaway. An especially interesting photo shows MESSENGER's sunshade of ceramic fabric that protects it from sunlight. What is next for Mercury? MESSENGER will relay data through 2011, and then a new international mission, BepiColombo, will be launched in 2014, orbiting to map Mercury, and study its magnetosphere. Included are a useful glossary and a list of books and websites about Mercury explorations, planet-watching, and the solar system. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction 5

Chapter 1 Mysterious Mercury 8

Mercury at a Glance 20

Fast Facts About Mercury 21

Mercury Timeline of Exploration and Discovery 24

Chapter 2 Messenger to Mercury 27

Chapter 3 What's Next for Mercury? 38

Words to Know 44

Find out More and Get Updates 46

Index 48

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