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The Smallest Planet Gets Smaller

Researchers prove that thermal models of Mercury's shrinkage are correct.

RELATED TAGS: SOLAR SYSTEM
Mercury_Shrinking
Scientists know from watching its surface activity that Mercury has shrunk over its 4.5 billion-year history. For decades, though, the question has been by how much. Observations from 1970s-era data suggested a shrinkage of 1 to 2 kilometers in radius throughout Mercury’s history, while newer thermal models showed a more significant change over that time, about 5 to 10 kilometers. Enter NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, which produced a comprehensive survey of the smallest planet’s ...
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