Planet Mercury: From Pale Pink Dot to Dynamic World

Springer
2
Free sample

A new and detailed picture of Mercury is emerging thanks to NASA’s MESSENGER mission that spent four years in orbit about the Sun’s innermost planet. Comprehensively illustrated by close-up images and other data, the author describes Mercury’s landscapes from a geological perspective: from sublimation hollows, to volcanic vents, to lava plains, to giant thrust faults. He considers what its giant core, internal structure and weird composition have to tell us about the formation and evolution of a planet so close to the Sun. This is of special significance in view of the discovery of so many exoplanets in similarly close orbits about their stars. Mercury generates its own magnetic field, like the Earth (but unlike Venus, Mars and the Moon), and the interplay between Mercury’s and the Sun’s magnetic field affects many processes on its surface and in the rich and diverse exosphere of neutral and charged particles surrounding the planet.

There is much about Mercury that we still don’t understand. Accessible to the amateur, but also a handy state-of-the-art digest for students and researchers, the book shows how our knowledge of Mercury developed over the past century of ground-based, fly-by and orbital observations, and looks ahead at the mysteries remaining for future missions to explore.

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About the author

David A. Rothery is Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University at Milton Keynes, UK. He has been member of the PPARC Solar System Advisory Panel and the BepiColombo Oversight Committee, and is UK Lead Scientist on MIXS (Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer), one of the instruments on the European Space Agency's BepiColombo mission to Mercury to be launched in 2016. His research interests centre on the study of volcanic activity by means of remote sensing, and volcanology and geoscience in general on other planets.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
Nov 13, 2014
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Pages
180
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ISBN
9783319121178
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Astronomy
Science / Earth Sciences / Geology
Science / Physics / Astrophysics
Technology & Engineering / Aeronautics & Astronautics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Proving to be both varied and fascinating, moons are far more common than planets in our Solar System. Our own Moon has had a profound influence on Earth, not only through tidal effects, but even on the behaviour of some marine animals. Many remarkable things have been discovered about the moons of the giant outer planets from Voyager, Galileo, Cassini, and other spacecraft. Scientists have glimpsed volcanic activity on Io, found oceans of water on Titan, and captured photos of icy geysers bursting from Enceladus. It looks likely that microbial life beyond the Earth may be discovered on a moon rather than a planet. In this Very Short Introduction David Rothery introduces the reader to the moons of our Solar System, beginning with the early discoveries of Galileo and others, describing their variety of mostly mythological names, and the early use of Jupiter's moons to establish position at sea and to estimate the speed of light. Rothery discusses the structure, formation, and influence of our Moon, and those of the other planets, and ends with the recent discovery of moons orbiting asteroids, whilst looking forward to the possibility of finding moons of exoplanets in planetary systems far beyond our own. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The #1 New York Times bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly—Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers—bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio—changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.

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