Tag Archives | Mercury

New Photos Suggest That Planet Mercury Is Hollow

The hollows appear to have formed relatively recently. The next question is, what lies inside? Phys.org writes:

A recent image acquired by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft shows the interior of Eminescu, a youngish 80-mile wide crater just north of Mercury’s equator. Eminescu made science headlines last year with MESSENGER’s discovery of curious eroded blotches called “hollows” scattered across its interior and surrounding its central peak, and now it looks like the spacecraft may have spotted some of these strange features in their earliest stages of formation along the inner edge of the crater’s rim.

First announced in September 2011, hollows have now been identified in many areas across Mercury. The lack of craters within hollows indicates that they are relatively young. It was suggested that they may be the result of an ongoing process on Mercury.

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NASA Spacecraft Discovers Mickey Mouse Icon On Mercury

Ah, humanity — we travel to the far reaches of our solar system, only to find our own corporate logos. Space.com reports:

A NASA spacecraft has captured a spectacular photo of Mercury craters arranged in a shape that looks just like Disney’s iconic cartoon mouse. The photo comes from the Messenger spacecraft in orbit around Mercury and shows a giant crater topped with two smaller impact basins to create the recognizable shape.

The Mickey Mouse on Mercury is formed by a huge crater about 65 miles (105 kilometers) wide that was later peppered by other impacts to create the “ears.

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Fukushima Tuna Sushi Now Being Served?

Bluefin_tunaIn 2008 the New York Times reported that

“laboratory tests found so much mercury in tuna sushi from 20 Manhattan stores and restaurants that at most of them, a regular diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

If you’re still eating tuna, you can also now start worrying about radiation poisoning, courtesy of the nuclear geniuses from Fukushima, Japan. Report via Reuters:

Low levels of nuclear radiation from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima power plant have turned up in bluefin tuna off the California coast, suggesting that these fish carried radioactive compounds across the Pacific Ocean faster than wind or water can.

Small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 tuna caught near San Diego in August 2011, about four months after these chemicals were released into the water off Japan’s east coast, scientists reported on Monday.

That is months earlier than wind and water currents brought debris from the plant to waters off Alaska and the U.S.

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Mercury ‘Turns’ Wetland Birds Homosexual

American White Ibis. Photo: Terry Foote (CC)

American White Ibis. Photo: Terry Foote (CC)

Victoria Gill reports for the  BBC:

Mercury affects the behaviour of white ibises by “turning them homosexual”, with higher doses resulting in males being more likely to pair with males.

Scientists in Florida and Sri Lanka studied the effect of mercury in the birds’ diet. Their aim was to find out why it reduced the ibises’ breeding.

Mercury pollution can come from burning coal and waste, and run-off from mines.

The report, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that wetland birds are particularly badly affected by it.

Although the researchers already knew that eating mercury-contaminated food could affect an animal’s development, they were surprised by the “strange” results of this experiment.

“We knew mercury could depress their testosterone (male sex hormone) levels,” explained Dr Peter Frederick from the University of Florida, who led the study. “But we didn’t expect this.”

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Planet Earth As Seen From Planet Mercury

Planet Earth From MercuryIf the closest planet in the Solar System to the Sun was able to support life (as we understand it) this is what our homeworld would look like to them — a double planetary system (or more likely as perceived, a binary star) — from even our closest approach to them, 48 million miles away. So according to Mercurians, we are not a pale blue dot but instead a nearby, very bright, double-dotted neighbor. Ray Villard writes on Discovery News:

I never cease to be humbled and amazed when I see our Planet Earth reduced to a pinpoint when photographed from elsewhere in the solar system. So far, our planet-roaming spacecraft have taken tourist snapshots of Earth as seen from Mars, Saturn, and beyond Pluto’s obit.

But this latest view from NASA’s MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft is a jaw-dropper. For the first time we see Earth — in astronomical parlance — as a fully illuminated superior planet 114 million mile outward from Mercury.

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