Mercury Archives - State of the Planet

A graphic of Mercury's internal structure.

MESSENGER Data Reveal That Mercury’s Inner Core Is Solid

The new findings offer clues about how the solar system formed and how rocky planets change over time.

by |April 19, 2019
false color view of Mercury

Exploring Mercury in a New Book

Scientists from NASA’s MESSENGER mission share some of its top discoveries — and lingering mysteries — in a new compendium.

by |March 22, 2019
Data from MESSENGER was used to map the rugged landforms and spectral variations on Mercury’s surface. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

MESSENGER Data Reveal Evidence of Ancient Carbon-Rich Crust on Mercury

Mercury’s dark surface is revealing intriguing new clues about the formation of the solar system, including evidence announced today that the planet closest to the Sun may have formed in part from carbon, a key component of life.

by |March 7, 2016


Alien orbits you plied,
While we vicariously spied
A distant globe …

by |May 1, 2015

Soon-to-End Mercury Mission May Hold Clues to Earth’s Evolution

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has been orbiting Mercury for the last four years, giving scientists an unprecedented look at our solar system’s innermost planet. But now the craft’s fuel supply is exhausted; inexorably drawn in by Mercury’s gravity, it is scheduled to crash in April. Sean Solomon, director of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has been leading the mission, and in this video, he talks about its implications.

by |March 27, 2015

Lamont-Doherty Director Awarded National Medal of Science

Sean Solomon, director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and a geophysicist who has spent much of his career studying Earth’s neighboring planets as well as the Earth itself, will receive the National Medal of Science.

by |October 3, 2014

Frozen Water on Mercury, NASA Confirms

Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, may hold at least 100 billion tons of ice in permanently shaded craters near its north pole, NASA scientists announced Thursday. The findings come as NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft nears its second year of orbit around Mercury. MESSENGER’s lead investigator, Sean Solomon, is director of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

by |November 29, 2012