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Questions tagged [mercury]

Questions regarding Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun. Use [project-mercury] for questions about the NASA missions.

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How can one terraform Mercury?

I have seen many people talk about terraforming Venus or Mars. How about Mercury? There is probably plenty of sun light there and I imagine that people could place a magnetic ring at the L1 point to ...
Divinator's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
153 views

Could mirrors used in a Dyson Swarm be made from asteroids in the inner asteroid belt?

In this video from Kurzgesagt they said that one would need to disassemble a whole planet to build a Dyson swarm around the sun. The video went on about mining Mercury and using the materials ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
112 views

Could Bepi-Colombo image the Messenger impact site?

Is the location of the impact site of Messenger known with sufficient detail to image it from low orbit? Does Bepi-Colombo have a high enough camera resolution to image Mercury at whatever the ...
qazwsx's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
417 views

What does LMO mean?

I know that LEO means low Earth orbit. I thought that LMO would mean low Mars orbit, but my friend said it means low Mercury orbit. Does LMO mean low Mars orbit, low Mercury orbit, none of those or ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Which of the 2 delta-v calculations for a Mercury orbit insertion from LEO is right and which is wrong?

This answer to the question "How to calculate delta-v required for a planet-to-planet Hohmann transfer?" gives among other things the 2 following equations: $v_{inject}=\sqrt{\left(\sqrt{\...
Cornelis's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
280 views

Starting refueled in LEO, how much payload could a heat-protected Starship softly land on Mercury after a gravity assist from Venus?

This question may be a crucial follow-up to this one because in this answer it is calculated that the payload to Mercury without a gravity assist would probably be minimal, so if already a moderate ...
Cornelis's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
4k views

If one Starship can transport 100 people to Mars, how many could it safely land near Mercury's north pole after one Hohmann-like transfer?

Personally, I would rather live near Mercury's north pole than anywhere on Mars mainly because: The permanently shadowed craters harbor abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials Mercury ...
Cornelis's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
488 views

How much delta-v could be saved with a Hohmann-like transfer orbit to the aphelion of Mercury 's orbit instead of its perihelion?

I wrote "Hohmann-like" of course because Mercury's orbit is rather eccentric and has an inclination of 7 ⁰. From this factsheet I've learned that perihelion is at 46 million km and aphelion ...
Cornelis's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why don't we send a rover to a pole of Mercury?

Mercury is among the least explored planets, despite its vicinity to Earth. Just two probes have been sent to Mercury, a third one is underway and no probe landed softly on Mercury so far, Messenger ...
Giovanni's user avatar
  • 633
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Calculating the delta V budget from Earth to Mercury

Context While verifying a basic computation to compute the required delta V budget to get to Mercury I am experiencing some difficulties in interpreting the number 8650 m/s from Earth intercept to ...
a.t.'s user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
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How do space agencies choose arrival dates to planets (i.e. Mercury) from a gravity assist (i.e. Venus)?

Assuming I was looking for arrival opportunities from 2020 to 2030, how can I calculate the possible arrival dates to Mercury given a departure date from a gravity assist from Venus?
John's user avatar
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73 votes
5 answers
26k views

Why is it easier to escape the solar system than get to Mercury or the Sun?

It has been mentioned several times on this site that it is "easier" (less delta-v, and hence less fuel) to reach the escape velocity of the solar system, than to reach the planet Mercury or ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
157 views

Could the magnetosphere of Mercury protect humans?

In theory, we built a space station orbiting Mercury like the ISS on Earth. Will the magnetosphere of Mercury similarly protect humans from this radiation (despite being close to the sun)?
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13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Mars versus the poles of Mercury WRT colonization

From MESSENGER Finds New Evidence for Water Ice at Mercury's Poles : Credits: NASA/John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and ...
Cornelis's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
258 views

Could a spacecraft make two stable orbits around Mercury at an altitude of three miles?

Mercury has no atmosphere, just an exosphere. The highest mountain range on Mercury are the Caloris Montes, reaching up to 1.9 miles (3 km). What if a spacecraft tried to orbit Mercury at an altitude ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
573 views

Why must "Mercury’s core (be) partially molten" to explain its weak magnetism?

EarthSky.org's Top 5 Mercury mysteries that BepiColombo will solve says: Why does Mercury have a magnetic field? Not too many planets have a magnetic field. Among the rocky planets of the inner ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
282 views

Is a graviational slingshot around Mercury a feasible solution for space probes?

Our spacecraft have rarely visited Mercury, for reasons obvious to those who know orbital mechanics. The Mariner 10 visit to Mercury was revolutionary by using Venus for the novel slingshot maneuver, ...
uruiamme's user avatar
  • 183
4 votes
1 answer
171 views

How much more quickly does night come on Mars compared to Earth? Will it be easier to see Mercury there?

This answer to Visible sky features from Mars got me thinking. On Earth it takes a while for the sky to get dark after sunset, which makes looking for Mercury a challenge because it follows the Sun ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
2 votes
1 answer
154 views

Space and Newton laws

I've read some articles which explain that we can't totally rely on Newtonian gravity concepts for understanding the motion of objects in space. My question is how the use of relativity helps us to ...
आर्यभट्ट's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Friendly temperatures at day/night junction in Mercury?

Here's my theory : Since a temperature change is generally smooth when you travel, I was wondering that temperatures would be somewhat decent if you were to stay somewhere in the day/night longitude ...
aybe's user avatar
  • 517
1 vote
1 answer
190 views

What is the source of Scott Manley's plot of Messenger's end of mission perihermion loss?

In the video Why Does it take BepiColombo 7 Years To Get To Mercury? Scott Manley nicely explains some of the basic orbital mechanical aspects of the mission and compares it to the Messenger mission. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
161 views

When an how will BepiColombo and MIO separate? (JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter)

edit: JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) is now called MIO – Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter’s New Name. With all the fanfare about BepiColombo (mine included) I didn't realize that there ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
10 votes
2 answers
344 views

Why did the MESSENGER probe get deorbited?

I have heard a bit about why interplanetary probes get deorbited, but that was about Jupiter and Saturn that have potentially life-friendly moons. But regarding Mercury, no life could exist there: the ...
Wheatley Aquario's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
117 views

How much solar wind (mass) hits Mercury's north pole?

I understand the solar wind impacts and sputters the surface of Mercury's north pole due to it's magnetic field deflecting it around the planet.
Brooks Nelson's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
99 views

What was Mariner 10's lowest perihelion radius?

I've been searching the web for documentation of Mariner 10's trajectory, notably the perihelion radii, but so far have turned up nothing quantitative, just some rough trajectory diagrams. I've looked ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
584 views

Is GR required to send a probe to Mercury?

I understand that Newton's Law of Gravitation is still used today to calculate the paths of probes, since it is such an accurate theory. However, the Law of Gravitation does not accurately describe ...
Beta Decay's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
861 views

Why the thermal imaging of Mercury's surface requires a telescope on a jet flying through an eclipse?

The NASA News Feature Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse from NASA’s WB-57F Jets describes two telescope-equipped NASA jets that will fly fast enough to spend about 7 minutes in the Umbra (totality) of ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does it even make sense to talk about Mercury's triangular libration points (L4, L5)?

The recent question How much radiation shielding would be required for a habitat at Mercury–Sun L5? got me thinking. There are a large number of disadvantages and challenges to building or putting a ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
1 vote
1 answer
170 views

Could a Sun shield keep a rover cool daytime on Mercury?

If a rover on Mercury "roves" only at night when the surface is freezing cold, and before dawn unfolds a Sun shield of a few square meters above itself, under which it stays put all day. Would the ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
4k views

What are the challenges to landing a spacecraft on Mercury?

I read that it would be more difficult to land (not crash land) on Mercury or even send a spacecraft in orbit around it because of the gravitational pull of the Sun and the lack of planetary ...
Archa's user avatar
  • 345
4 votes
1 answer
4k views

Radiation risk on Mercury?

I would assume the planet Mercury represents a 'worst case' for radiation risk to people. But how bad is it as compared to, say, radiation workers annual dose limit?
MercuryPlus's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
825 views

What is this white dot and strange line in SOHO image?

In the SOHO images for today, there was a white dot at the bottom right of the image. There is also a strange white line parallel to the top and bottom of the image that crosses most of the image. ...
Sub 6 Resources's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is Mercury's orbit still considered potentially unstable (in the very long term)?

The subsection Mercury–Jupiter 1:1 perihelion-precession resonance in the Wikipedia article Stability of the Solar System links to the article Solar system could go haywire before the Sun dies in the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can the Sun set twice during the same day on Mercury?

Mercury's day is only a little bit shorter than its orbital period, the relationship is a 3:2 resonance. However, I noticed that the planet's angular velocity at perihelion, 0.265 arc-degrees per ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
799 views

Through what process does MESSENGER undergo orbital decay?

At some point this year, the MESSENGER mission to Mercury will come to an end, as the spacecraft has exhausted its supply of maneuvering propellant necessary to keep it in orbit. It is currently using ...
marked-down's user avatar
  • 8,961
6 votes
1 answer
791 views

Cyclers To Mercury?

Is it possible to establish a practical 'cycler' transportation system between Earth and Mercury? The concept involves a small, manned payload (7.5 mt or less) doing the Earth departure and Mercury ...
MercuryPlus's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

How could Mercury be used as a gravity sling to the outer planets?

Mercury's orbital speed is 48 km/s or about 10 AU/year. Wouldn't probes accelerate towards the Sun if we give them a little push from LEO, and only 0.6-1.6 AU from here take a big gravity assist from ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
849 views

Would temperatures be more stable under the surface of Mercury?

Mercury, being right around than 55,000,000 km away from the Sun, gets hot. As in very hot - 700 °K hot (426 °C and 800 °F). Not a place you would want to live. On the flip side, the side of Mercury ...
user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
9k views

Does Mercury have the necessary natural resources to sustain a human colony?

Given that deep craters on Mercury's polar regions could provide protection from the searing heat and radiation of the closer Sun, a colony on Mercury could be possible. For any colony to be ...
user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

How tectonically active is Mercury?

Both this article and this paper say that Mercury's tectonic activity is mostly in the past, but the first article does have this to say: After the volcanic activity subsided, the planet has been ...
called2voyage's user avatar
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