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Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.
This diagram shows the internal structure of the planet Mercury. Scientists believe that the core of Mercury is hot, liquid iron-nickel. Mercury has no atmosphere and as a result, the surface is pocked by craters from collisions with asteroids over billions of years.
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Structure of Mercury's Interior

Mercury has a radius of 2439 km (1524 mi), and the metallic iron-nickel core is believed to make up about 75% of this distance. Measurements of the planet's magnetic field made by Mariner 10 as it flew by the planet indicates that this core is likely to be hot and fluid. In contrast with the other terrestrial planets, the rest of the planet is probably made up of a solid rocky layer topped with a thin crust about 100 km thick. The surface of Mercury is covered with a variety of craters formed from the impact of meteorites billions of years ago and other features that reveal information about the evolution of the planet.

Last modified June 1, 2009 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA