NASA’s Messenger spacecraft sent valuable data before it crashed on the surface. Initial analysis of the data reveals that mercury’s magnetic field is around 4 billion years old.
Catherine Johnson, main author of the research, notifies that the magnetic field was once 100 times stronger than the current one. However, further research is needed to confirm the study
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. It is also the smallest planet of the solar system.
In 2004, NASA launched Messenger spacecraft to explore mercury. The spacecraft took four years to reach the smallest planet. After a long investigation, it crashed into the surface of the planet. During the entire mission, it delivered more than 100,000 photos to the space agency.
The analysis of the images uncovers that mercury’s crust is thinner at pole and thicker in low altitudes. It indicates that the planet might contain water.
The core of mercury covers 85 percent radius of the planet. The ratio is relatively larger as compared to the radius of the Earth. In short, it shows that there is a layer of liquid present under the curst of Mercury.
Researchers believe that the discovery will provide further details regarding the origin of mercury.
The study appears in latest edition of Journal Science.