WorldWideScience

Sample records for mercury planet

  1. The planet Mercury (1971)

    Science.gov (United States)

    1972-01-01

    The physical properties of the planet Mercury, its surface, and atmosphere are presented for space vehicle design criteria. The mass, dimensions, mean density, and orbital and rotational motions are described. The gravity field, magnetic field, electromagnetic radiation, and charged particles in the planet's orbit are discussed. Atmospheric pressure, temperature, and composition data are given along with the surface composition, soil mechanical properties, and topography, and the surface electromagnetic and temperature properties.

  2. Exploring Mercury: The Iron Planet

    OpenAIRE

    Stevenson, David J.

    2004-01-01

    Planet Mercury is both difficult to observe and difficult to reach by spacecraft. Just one spacecraft, Mariner 10, flew by the planet 30 years ago. An upcoming NASA mission, MESSENGER, will be launched this year and will go into orbit around Mercury at the end of this decade. A European mission is planned for the following decade. It's worth going there because Mercury is a strange body and the history of planetary exploration has taught us that strangeness gives us insight into planetary ori...

  3. Venus and Mercury as Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    1974-01-01

    A general evolutionary history of the solar planetary system is given. The previously observed characteristics of Venus and Mercury (i.e. length of day, solar orbit, temperature) are discussed. The role of the Mariner 10 space probe in gathering scientific information on the two planets is briefly described.

  4. Venus and Mercury as planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1974-01-01

    A general evolutionary history of the solar planetary system is given. The previously observed characteristics of Venus and Mercury (i.e. length of day, solar orbit, temperature) are discussed. The role of the Mariner 10 space probe in gathering scientific information on the two planets is briefly described

  5. Thermal elastic deformations of the planet Mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, H.-S.

    1972-01-01

    The variation in solar heating due to the resonance rotation of Mercury produces periodic elastic deformations on the surface of the planet. The thermal stress and strain fields under Mercury's surface are calculated after certain simplifications. It is found that deformations penetrate to a greater depth than the variation of solar heating, and that the thermal strain on the surface of the planet pulsates with an amplitude of .004 and a period of 176 days.

  6. Mercury: Exploration of a Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    1976-01-01

    The flight of the Mariner 10 spacecraft to Venus and Mercury is detailed in animation and photography. Views of Mercury are featured. Also included is animation on the origin of the solar system. Dr. Bruce C. Murray, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, comments on the mission.

  7. Rotation of the planet mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jefferys, W H

    1966-04-08

    The equations of motion for the rotation of Mercury are solved for the general case by an asymptotic expansion. The findings of Liu and O'Keefe, obtained by numerical integration of a special case, that it is possible for Mercury's rotation to be locked into a 2:3 resonance with its revolution, are confirmed in detail. The general solution has further applications.

  8. Physical properties of the planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Pamela E.

    1988-01-01

    The global physical properties of Mercury are summarized with attention given to its figure and orbital parameters. The combination of properties suggests that Mercury has an extensive iron-rich core, possibly with a still-functioning dynamo, which is 42 percent of the interior by volume. Mercury's three major axes are comparable in size, indicating that the planet is a triaxial ellipsoid rather than an oblate spheroid. In terms of the domination of its surface by an intermediate plains terrane, it is more Venus- or Mars-like; however, due to the presence of a large metallic magnetic core, its interior may be more earth-like.

  9. Earth-type planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marov, M. Y.; Davydov, V. D.

    1975-01-01

    Spacecraft- and Earth-based studies on the physical nature of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars are reported. Charts and graphs are presented on planetary surface properties, rotational parameters, atmospheric compositions, and astronomical characteristics.

  10. Earthlike planets: Surfaces of Mercury, Venus, earth, moon, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murray, B.; Malin, M. C.; Greeley, R.

    1981-01-01

    The surfaces of the earth and the other terrestrial planets of the inner solar system are reviewed in light of the results of recent planetary explorations. Past and current views of the origin of the earth, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars are discussed, and the surface features characteristic of the moon, Mercury, Mars and Venus are outlined. Mechanisms for the modification of planetary surfaces by external factors and from within the planet are examined, including surface cycles, meteoritic impact, gravity, wind, plate tectonics, volcanism and crustal deformation. The origin and evolution of the moon are discussed on the basis of the Apollo results, and current knowledge of Mercury and Mars is examined in detail. Finally, the middle periods in the history of the terrestrial planets are compared, and future prospects for the exploration of the inner planets as well as other rocky bodies in the solar system are discussed.

  11. Mercury - Introduction to an end-member planet

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chapman, C.R.

    1988-01-01

    This chapter introduces the major themes of this book. In many ways, Mercury is an extreme planet, and thus it provides a unique benchmark for testing our theories about the origin and evolution of other (particularly terrestrial) planets. Emphasis is given to synthesizing and critiquing the book's chapters on the planet's origin, its metal-rich composition, its thermal and geophysical evolution, and its cratering history; these topics are complex and controversial, and this book contains a variety of new perspectives on them. Mercury's geology, atmosphere and magnetosphere are discussed more briefly. The study of Mercury is placed in its historical context and in the context of the spacecraft exploration program, both past and future

  12. Planet Mercury from pale pink dot to dynamic world

    CERN Document Server

    Rothery, David A

    2014-01-01

    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 ex

  13. Dynamic Planet Mercury in the Context of Its Environment

    CERN Document Server

    Clark, Pamela Elizabeth

    2007-01-01

    We are in a time of transition in our understanding of Mercury. Of particular interest here is the emerging picture of the planet as a system, with interactions between interior, surface, exosphere, and magnetosphere that have influenced and constrained the evolution of each part of the system. Previous books have emphasized the results of Mariner 10 and current ground-based measurements, with very little discussion of the nature and influence of the magnetosphere. This book will present the planet in the context of its surroundings, thus providing a foundation for the next major influx of information from Mercury and contributing to the planning for future missions.

  14. Mercury Mapper: First Look at the Innermost Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirshon, B.

    2012-12-01

    Until very recently little has been known about the planet Mercury, despite its relative proximity to Earth. Mercury is difficult to observe from Earth, because it is so small and so close to the sun, and only one spacecraft had visited the planet: Mariner 10, in the mid 1970s. But now, the MESSENGER spacecraft is in orbit around Mercury, sending back high-resolution images of virtually the entire planetary surface. This provides a rare opportunity for public engagement in the exploration of a new world—a chance for non-scientists to help scientists locate, measure and describe terrain never before seen. Mercury Mapper, designed by CosmoQuest, will provide the training and toolkit needed to accomplish the task. Using thousands of images selected by the MESSENGER science team, Mercury Mapper will guide citizen scientists through the process of finding, categorizing and measuring key topographic features of interest to researchers. Mercury Mapper users will in many cases be the first people to examine these features. In this session, members of the MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach team along with CosmoQuest designers involved in developing Mercury Mapper will share the many considerations and tradeoffs involved in creating a fun environment for engaging the public while also serving the interests of scientists performing original research.; ;

  15. Sodium Exosphere of Planet Mercury: Particle Tracing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paral, J.; Travnicek, P.; Kabin, K.; Rankin, R.

    2007-12-01

    We will present the results of particle tracing simulations of heavy ions in magnetosphere of Mercury. In our study we use electric and magnetic fields from self-consistent hybrid simulations of Hermean environment. We consider three major release processes, namely photon stimulated description, solar wind sputtering, and micro-meteoroid vaporization to study distribution of energy and other characteristics in space and time. The released neutral atoms are ionized through photoionization processes after the sputtering. Part of our work will be focused on the possible measurements during three initial flybys of the MESSENGER spacecraft scheduled for 2008 and 2009.

  16. Surface history of Mercury - Implications for terrestrial planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murray, B. C.; Strom, R. G.; Trask, N. J.; Gault, D. E.

    1975-01-01

    A plausible surface history of Mercury is presented which is suggested by Mariner 10 television pictures. Five periods are postulated which are delineated by successive variations in the modification of the surface by external and internal processes: accretion and differentiation, terminal heavy bombardment, formation of the Caloris basin, flooding of that basin and other areas, and light cratering accumulated on the smooth plains. Each period is described in detail; the overall history is compared with the surface histories of Venus, Mars, and the moon; and the implications of this history for earth are discussed. It is tentatively concluded that: Mercury is a differentiated planet most likely composed of a large iron core enclosed by a relatively thin silicate layer; heavy surface bombardment occurred about four billion years ago, which probably affected all the inner planets, and was followed by a period of volcanic activity; no surface modifications caused by tectonic, volcanic, or atmospheric processes took place after the volcanic period.

  17. Planet Mercury Conference, Tucson, AZ, Aug. 6-9, 1986, Proceedings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1987-01-01

    The present conference discusses the mass, gravity field, and ephemeris of the planet Mercury, the vulcanoid hypothesis for the chronology of Mercury's geological and geophysical evolution, the Mercurian crater-filling classes that constrain the intercrater plains material emplacement process, and the wavelength and longitude dependence of Mercury polarization. Also discussed are an analysis of the Mariner 10 color radio map of Mercury, Mercury's magnetosphere, exosphere, and surface, the dynamics of electrons and heavy ions in the Mercury magnetosphere, electron measurements and substorm time scales in the Mercury and earth magnetospheres, Mercury's sodium variations with solar radiation pressure, and appulses and occultations of SAO stars by Mercury in the 1987-1995 period

  18. Mercury

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vilas, F.; Chapman, C.R.; Matthews, M.S.

    1988-01-01

    Papers are presented on future observations of and missions to Mercury, the photometry and polarimetry of Mercury, the surface composition of Mercury from reflectance spectrophotometry, the Goldstone radar observations of Mercury, the radar observations of Mercury, the stratigraphy and geologic history of Mercury, the geomorphology of impact craters on Mercury, and the cratering record on Mercury and the origin of impacting objects. Consideration is also given to the tectonics of Mercury, the tectonic history of Mercury, Mercury's thermal history and the generation of its magnetic field, the rotational dynamics of Mercury and the state of its core, Mercury's magnetic field and interior, the magnetosphere of Mercury, and the Mercury atmosphere. Other papers are on the present bounds on the bulk composition of Mercury and the implications for planetary formation processes, the building stones of the planets, the origin and composition of Mercury, the formation of Mercury from planetesimals, and theoretical considerations on the strange density of Mercury

  19. Highly Reducing Partitioning Experiments Relevant to the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowland, Rick, II; Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E.; McCubbin, Francis M.; Danielson, Lisa R.

    2017-01-01

    With the data returned from the MErcury Surface Space ENvironment GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, there are now numerous constraints on the physical and chemical properties of Mercury, including its surface composition. The high S and low FeO contents observed from MESSENGER on the planet's surface suggests a low oxygen fugacity of the present planetary materials. Estimates of the oxygen fugacity for Mercurian magmas are approximately 3-7 log units below the Iron-Wüstite (Fe-FeO) oxygen buffer, several orders of magnitude more reducing than other terrestrial bodies we have data from such as the Earth, Moon, or Mars. Most of our understanding of elemental partitioning behavior comes from observations made on terrestrial rocks, but Mercury's oxygen fugacity is far outside the conditions of those samples. With limited oxygen available, lithophile elements may instead exhibit chalcophile, halophile, or siderophile behaviors. Furthermore, very few natural samples of rocks that formed under reducing conditions are available in our collections (e.g., enstatite chondrites, achondrites, aubrites). With this limited amount of material, we must perform experiments to determine the elemental partitioning behavior of typically lithophile elements as a function of decreasing oxygen fugacity. Experiments are being conducted at 4 GPa in an 880-ton multi-anvil press, at temperatures up to 1850degC. The composition of starting materials for the experiments were selected for the final run products to contain metal, silicate melt, and sulfide melt phases. Oxygen fugacity is controlled in the experiments by adding silicon metal to the samples, using the Si-SiO2 oxygen buffer, which is approximately 5 log units more reducing than the Fe-FeO oxygen buffer at our temperatures of interest. The target silicate melt compositional is diopside (CaMgSi2O6) because measured surface compositions indicate partial melting of a pyroxene-rich mantle. Elements detected on Mercury

  20. Observations at the planet Mercury by the plasma electron experiment, Mariner 10

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ogilvie, K.W.; Scudder, J.D.; Vasyliunas, V.M.; Hartle, R.E.; Siscoe, G.L.

    1976-09-01

    Plasma electron observations made onboard Mariner 10 are reported. Three encounters with the planet Mercury show that the planet interacts with the solar wind to form a bow shock and a permanent magnetosphere. The observations provide a determination of the dimensions and properties of the magnetosphere, independently of and in general agreement with magnetometer observations. The magnetosphere of Mercury appears to be similar in shape to that of the Earth but much smaller in relation to the size of the planet. Electron populations similar to those found in the Earth's magnetotail, within the plasma sheet and adjacent regions, were observed at Mercury; both their spatial location and the electron energy spectra within them bear qualitative and quantitative resemblance to corresponding observations at the Earth. The magnetosphere of Mercury resembles to a marked degree a reduced version of that of the Earth, with no significant differences of structure

  1. Observations at the planet Mercury by the plasma electron experiment, Mariner 10

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ogilvie, K. W.; Scudder, J. D.; Vasyliunas, V. M.; Hartle, R. E.; Siscoe, G. L.

    1976-01-01

    Plasma electron observations made onboard Mariner 10 are reported. Three encounters with the planet Mercury show that the planet interacts with the solar wind to form a bow shock and a permanent magnetosphere. The observations provide a determination of the dimensions and properties of the magnetosphere, independently of and in general agreement with magnetometer observations. The magnetosphere of Mercury appears to be similar in shape to that of the Earth but much smaller in relation to the size of the planet. Electron populations similar to those found in the Earth's magnetotail, within the plasma sheet and adjacent regions, were observed at Mercury; both their spatial location and the electron energy spectra within them bear qualitative and quantitative resemblance to corresponding observations at the Earth. The magnetosphere of Mercury resembles to a marked degree a reduced version of that of the Earth, with no significant differences of structure.

  2. Circular polarization of light by planet Mercury and enantiomorphism of its surface minerals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meierhenrich, Uwe J; Thiemann, Wolfram H P; Barbier, Bernard; Brack, André; Alcaraz, Christian; Nahon, Laurent; Wolstencroft, Ray

    2002-04-01

    Different mechanisms for the generation of circular polarization by the surface of planets and satellites are described. The observed values for Venus, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter obtained by photo-polarimetric measurements with Earth based telescopes, showed accordance with theory. However, for planet Mercury asymmetric parameters in the circular polarization were measured that do not fit with calculations. For BepiColombo, the ESA cornerstone mission 5 to Mercury, we propose to investigate this phenomenon using a concept which includes two instruments. The first instrument is a high-resolution optical polarimeter, capable to determine and map the circular polarization by remote scanning of Mercury's surface from the Mercury Planetary Orbiter MPO. The second instrument is an in situ sensor for the detection of the enantiomorphism of surface crystals and minerals, proposed to be included in the Mercury Lander MSE.

  3. MESSENGER, MErcury: Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging; A Mission to Orbit and Explore the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    MESSENGER is a scientific mission to Mercury. Understanding this extraordinary planet and the forces that have shaped it is fundamental to understanding the processes that have governed the formation, evolution, and dynamics of the terrestrial planets. MESSENGER is a MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging mission to orbit Mercury for one Earth year after completing two flybys of that planet following two flybys of Venus. The necessary flybys return significant new data early in the mission, while the orbital phase, guided by the flyby data, enables a focused scientific investigation of this least-studied terrestrial planet. Answers to key questions about Mercury's high density, crustal composition and structure, volcanic history, core structure, magnetic field generation, polar deposits, exosphere, overall volatile inventory, and magnetosphere are provided by an optimized set of miniaturized space instruments. Our goal is to gain new insight into the formation and evolution of the solar system, including Earth. By traveling to the inner edge of the solar system and exploring a poorly known world, MESSENGER fulfills this quest.

  4. Moore on Mercury the planet and the missions

    CERN Document Server

    Moore, Patrick

    2007-01-01

    In his inimitable style, Patrick Moore describes Mercury. He tells of those who have observed it over the centuries, and the past, present and future space missions to it. In doing so he has written the most up-to-date book about Mercury for amateur astronomers.

  5. Imaging the Sources and Full Extent of the Sodium Tail of the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baumgardner, Jeffrey; Wilson, Jody; Mendillo, Michael

    2008-01-01

    Observations of sodium emission from Mercury can be used to describe the spatial and temporal patterns of sources and sinks in the planet s surface-boundary-exosphere. We report on new data sets that provide the highest spatial resolution of source regions at polar latitudes, as well as the extraordinary length of a tail of escaping Na atoms. The tail s extent of approx.1.5 degrees (nearly 1400 Mercury radii) is driven by radiation pressure effects upon Na atoms sputtered from the surface in the previous approx.5 hours. Wide-angle filtered-imaging instruments are thus capable of studying the time history of sputtering processes of sodium and other species at Mercury from ground-based observatories in concert with upcoming satellite missions to the planet. Plasma tails produced by photo-ionization of Na and other gases in Mercury s neutral tails may be observable by in-situ instruments.

  6. Rotation of mercury: theoretical analysis of the dynamics of a rigid ellipsoidal planet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laslett, L J; Sessler, A M

    1966-03-18

    The second-order nonlinear differential equation for the rotation of Mercury implies locked-in motion when the period is within the range where e is the eccentricity and T is the period of Mercury's orbit, the time t is measured from perihelion, and lambda is a measure of the planet's disiortion. For values near 2T/3, the instantaneous period oscillates about 2T/3 with period (21lambdae/2)T.

  7. Radio-interferometric imaging of the subsurface emissions from the planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burns, J. O.; Zeilik, M.; Gisler, G. R.; Borovsky, J. E.; Baker, D. N.

    1987-01-01

    The distribution of total and polarized intensities from Mercury's subsurface layers have been mapped using VLA observations. The first detection of a hot pole along the Hermean equator is reported and modeled as black-body reradiation from preferential diurnal heating. These observations appear to rule out any internal sources of heat within Mercury. Polarized emission from the limb of the planet is also found, and is understood in terms of the dielectric properties of the Hermean surface.

  8. How mercury can be themostreduced terrestrial planet and still store iron in its mantle

    OpenAIRE

    MALAVERGNE, Valérie; CORDIER, Patrick; RIGHTER, Kevin; BRUNETE, Fabrice; ZANDA, Brigitte; ADDAD, Ahmed; SMITH, Thomas; BUREAU, Hélène; SURBLE, Suzy; RAEPSAET, Caroline; CHARON, Emeline; H.HEWINS, Roger

    2014-01-01

    Mercury is notorious as the most reduced planet with the highest metal/silicate ratio, yet paradoxically data from the MESSENGER spacecraft show that its iron-poor crust is high in sulfur (up to ∼6 wt%, ∼80× Earth crust abundance) present mainly as Ca-rich sulfides on its surface. These particularities are simply impossible on the other terrestrial planets. In order to understand the role played by sulfur during the formation of Mercury, we investigated the phase relationships in ...

  9. Observation at the planet Mercury by the plasma electron experiment: Mariner Mariner 10

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ogilvie, K.W.; Scudder, J.D.; Vasyliunas, V.M.; Hartle, R.E.; Siscoe, G.L.

    1977-01-01

    Plasma electron observations made on board Mariner 10 during its three encounters with the planet Mercury show that the planet interacts with the solar wind to form a bow shock and a permanent magnetosphere. The observations provide a determination of the dimensions and properties of the magnetosphere, independently of and in general agreement with magnetometer observations. The magnetosphere of Mercury appears to be similar in shape to that of the earth but much smaller in relation to the size of the planet. The average distance from the center of Mercury to the subsolar point of the magnetopause is approx.1.4 planetary radii. Electron populations similar to those found in the earth's magneto-tail, within the plasma sheet and adjacent regions, were observed at Mercury; both their spatial location and the electron energy spectra within them bear qualitative and quantitative resemblance to corresponding observations at the earth. In general, the magnetosphere of Mercury resembles to a marked degree a reduced version of that of the earth, there being no significant differences of structure revealed by the Mariner 10 observations. Quantities in the two magnetospheres are related by simple scaling laws. The size of Mercury relative to its magnetosphere precludes, however, the existence of stably trapped particle belts and of inner magnetosphere (Lapproximately-less-than8 at the earth) phenomena generally

  10. Observations at the planet Mercury by the plasma electron experiment - Mariner 10

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ogilvie, K. W.; Scudder, J. D.; Vasyliunas, V. M.; Hartle, R. E.; Siscoe, G. L.

    1977-01-01

    Two nightside encounters with Mercury's magnetosphere by Mariner 10 revealed bow shock and magnetosheath signatures in the plasma electron data that are entirely consistent with the geometry expected for an interaction between a planet-centered magnetic dipole and the solar wind. The geometrically determined distance between the planet's center and the solar wind stagnation point is 1.4 plus or minus 0.1 R sub M. Both diffuse and sharp shock crossings were observed on the two magnetosphere encounters.

  11. IAU nomenclature for albedo features on the planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dollfus, A.; Chapman, C. R.; Davies, M. E.; Gingerich, O.; Goldstein, R.; Guest, J.; Morrison, D.; Smith, B. A.

    1978-01-01

    The International Astronomical Union has endorsed a nomenclature for the albedo features on Mercury. Designations are based upon the mythological names related to the god Hermes; they are expressed in Latin form. The dark-hued albedo features are associated with the generic term Solitudo. The light-hued areas are designated by a single name without generic term. The 32 names adopted are allocated on the Mercury map.

  12. The use of radar and visual observations to characterize the surface structure of the planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, P. E.; Kobrick, M.; Jurgens, R. F.

    1985-01-01

    An analysis is conducted of available topographic profiles and scattering parameters derived from earth-based S- and X-band radar observations of Mercury, in order to determine the nature and origin of regional surface variations and structures that are typical of the planet. Attention is given to the proposal that intercrater plains on Mercury formed from extensive volcanic flooding during bombardment, so that most craters were formed on a partially molten surface and were thus obliterated, together with previously formed tectonic features.

  13. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Thermal models of Mercury. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    Recent and more complex thermal models of Mercury and the terrestrial planets are discussed or noted. These models isolate a particular aspect of the planet's thermal history in an attempt to understand that parameter. Among these topics are thermal conductivity, convection, radiogenic sources of heat, other heat sources, and the problem of the molten core and regenerative dynamo.

  14. Mercury: Informing Remote Sensing through Petrology in the Absence of Samples from the Innermost Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCoy, T. J.; Nittler, L. R.; Stockstill-Cahill, K.; Blewett, D. T.

    2012-12-01

    Remote sensing missions and petrologic studies are complementary methods of understanding airless planetary bodies. For bodies with both orbital missions and samples available for laboratory study, missions provide global chemical, mineralogical, and geologic data sets and context for samples, whereas samples often provide complementary petrogenetic histories in a chronological framework. In contrast, although the wealth of orbital data from MESSENGER is not complemented by samples from Mercury, petrologic and experimental studies remain essential to understanding the innermost planet. Prior to MESSENGER, most models centered on high-temperature events and formation under highly reducing conditions to explain Mercury's high metal to silicate ratio. These models predicted enrichment in refractory elements and depletion in volatile elements. The inference of formation at highly reducing conditions is supported by MESSENGER results. The low FeO concentration in the crust, implied low FeO contents of the mantle, apparent efficient partitioning of iron into the core, and evidence for Ca- and/or Mg-sulfides from X-Ray Spectrometer data are all consistent with reducing conditions. In contrast, the suggestion that Mercury is highly volatile-depleted has been refuted. Direct evidence for a relatively volatile-rich planet come from Na, K, and S abundances measured on the surface with MESSENGER's XRS and Gamma-Ray Spectrometer and the presence of neutral and ionized Na, K, and S species in the exosphere. Indirect evidence for volatile-rich compositions include the suggestion of volcanic vents with associated mantling pyroclastic deposits, hollows inferred to form by geologically recent volatile loss, and an inferred interior structure that includes a solid iron sulfide layer at the top of Mercury's fluid core. Petrologic and experimental studies of meteorites have played a key role in deciphering orbital data from MESSENGER. Partial melts from an enstatite chondrite

  15. Radioactive elements on Mercury's surface from MESSENGER: implications for the planet's formation and evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peplowski, Patrick N; Evans, Larry G; Hauck, Steven A; McCoy, Timothy J; Boynton, William V; Gillis-Davis, Jeffery J; Ebel, Denton S; Goldsten, John O; Hamara, David K; Lawrence, David J; McNutt, Ralph L; Nittler, Larry R; Solomon, Sean C; Rhodes, Edgar A; Sprague, Ann L; Starr, Richard D; Stockstill-Cahill, Karen R

    2011-09-30

    The MESSENGER Gamma-Ray Spectrometer measured the average surface abundances of the radioactive elements potassium (K, 1150 ± 220 parts per million), thorium (Th, 220 ± 60 parts per billion), and uranium (U, 90 ± 20 parts per billion) in Mercury's northern hemisphere. The abundance of the moderately volatile element K, relative to Th and U, is inconsistent with physical models for the formation of Mercury requiring extreme heating of the planet or its precursor materials, and supports formation from volatile-containing material comparable to chondritic meteorites. Abundances of K, Th, and U indicate that internal heat production has declined substantially since Mercury's formation, consistent with widespread volcanism shortly after the end of late heavy bombardment 3.8 billion years ago and limited, isolated volcanic activity since.

  16. Circular Polarization of Light By Planet Mercury and Enantiomorphism of Its Surface Minerals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meierhenrich, U. J.; Thiemann, W. H.-P.; Barbier, B.; Brack, A.; Nahon, L.; Alcaraz, C.; Wolstencroft, R.

    Different mechanisms for the generation of circular polarization on the surface of planets and satellites are described. The observed values for Venus, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter obtained by photo-polarimetric measurements with Earth based telescopes, showed accordance with theory. However, for planet Mercury asymmetric parameters in the circular polarization were measured that do not fit with calculations. For Bepi- Colombo, we propose to investigate this phenomenon using a concept which includes two instruments. The first instrument is a high-resolution optical polarimeter,[1,2] ca- pable to determine and map the circular polarization by remote scanning of Mercury's surface from the Mercury Planetary Orbiter MPO. The second instrument is an in situ sensor for the detection of the enantiomorphism of surface crystals and minerals, proposed to be included in the Mercury Lander MSE. [1] C. Alcaraz, R. Thissen, M. Compin, A. Jolly, M. Drescher, L. Nahon: First po- larization measurements of Ophelie: a versatile polarization VUV undulator at Super- Aco. SPIE 3773 (1999), 250-261. [2] C. Alcaraz, J.L. Marlats, D. Nether, B. Pilette, L. Nahon: A dedicated precise polarimeter for measurement of VUV versatile photon polarizations, Applied Optics, manuscript under preparation.

  17. Calculating the X-Ray Fluorescence from the Planet Mercury Due to High-Energy Electrons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burbine, T. H.; Trombka, J. I.; Bergstrom, P. M., Jr.; Christon, S. P.

    2005-01-01

    The least-studied terrestrial planet is Mercury due to its proximity to the Sun, which makes telescopic observations and spacecraft encounters difficult. Our lack of knowledge about Mercury should change in the near future due to the recent launching of MESSENGER, a Mercury orbiter. Another mission (BepiColombo) is currently being planned. The x-ray spectrometer on MESSENGER (and planned for BepiColombo) can characterize the elemental composition of a planetary surface by measuring emitted fluorescent x-rays. If electrons are ejected from an atom s inner shell by interaction with energetic particles such as photons, electrons, or ions, electrons from an outer shell can transfer to the inner shell. Characteristic x-rays are then emitted with energies that are the difference between the binding energy of the ion in its excited state and that of the ion in its ground state. Because each element has a unique set of energy levels, each element emits x-rays at a unique set of energies. Electrons and ions usually do not have the needed flux at high energies to cause significant x-ray fluorescence on most planetary bodies. This is not the case for Mercury where high-energy particles were detected during the Mariner 10 flybys. Mercury has an intrinsic magnetic field that deflects the solar wind, resulting in a bow shock in the solar wind and a magnetospheric cavity. Electrons and ions accelerated in the magnetosphere tend to follow its magnetic field lines and can impact the surface on Mercury s dark side Modeling has been done to determine if x-ray fluorescence resulting from the impact of high-energy electrons accelerated in Mercury's magnetosphere can be detected by MESSENGER. Our goal is to understand how much bulk chemical information can be obtained from x-ray fluorescence measurements on the dark side of Mercury.

  18. How Mercury can be the most reduced terrestrial planet and still store iron in its mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malavergne, Valérie; Cordier, Patrick; Righter, Kevin; Brunet, Fabrice; Zanda, Brigitte; Addad, Ahmed; Smith, Thomas; Bureau, Hélène; Surblé, Suzy; Raepsaet, Caroline; Charon, Emeline; Hewins, Roger H.

    2014-05-01

    Mercury is notorious as the most reduced planet with the highest metal/silicate ratio, yet paradoxically data from the MESSENGER spacecraft show that its iron-poor crust is high in sulfur (up to ˜6 wt%, ˜80× Earth crust abundance) present mainly as Ca-rich sulfides on its surface. These particularities are simply impossible on the other terrestrial planets. In order to understand the role played by sulfur during the formation of Mercury, we investigated the phase relationships in Mercurian analogs of enstatite chondrite-like composition experimentally under conditions relevant to differentiation of Mercury (˜1 GPa and 1300-2000 °C). Our results show that Mg-rich and Ca-rich sulfides, which both contain Fe, crystallize successively from reduced silicate melts upon cooling below 1550 °C. As the iron concentration in the reduced silicates stays very low (≪1 wt%), these sulfides represent new host phases for both iron and sulfur in the run products. Extrapolated to Mercury, these results show that Mg-rich sulfide crystallization provides the first viable and fundamental means for retaining iron as well as sulfur in the mantle during differentiation, while sulfides richer in Ca would crystallize at shallower levels. The distribution of iron in the differentiating mantle of Mercury was mainly determined by its partitioning between metal (or troilite) and Mg-Fe-Ca-rich sulfides rather than by its partitioning between metal (or troilite) and silicates. Moreover, the primitive mantle might also be boosted in Fe by a reaction at the core mantle boundary (CMB) between Mg-rich sulfides of the mantle and FeS-rich outer core materials to produce (Fe, Mg)S. The stability of Mg-Fe-Ca-rich sulfides over a large range of depths up to the surface of Mercury would be consistent with sulfur, calcium and iron abundances measured by MESSENGER.

  19. Mercury

    CERN Document Server

    Balogh, André; Steiger, Rudolf

    2008-01-01

    Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, is different in several respects from the other three terrestrial planets. In appearance, it resembles the heavily cratered surface of the Moon, but its density is high, it has a magnetic field and magnetosphere, but no atmosphere or ionosphere. This book reviews the progress made in Mercury studies since the flybys by Mariner 10 in 1974-75, based on the continued research using the Mariner 10 archive, on observations from Earth, and on increasingly realistic models of its interior evolution.

  20. Compact, Passively Q-Switched Nd:YAG Laser for the MESSENGER Mission to the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krebs, Danny J.; Novo-Gradac, Anne-Marie; Li, Steven X.; Lindauer, Steven J.; Afzal, Robert S.; Yu, Antony

    2004-01-01

    A compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser has been developed for the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) instrument which is an instrument on the MESSENGER mission to the planet Mercury. The laser achieves 5.4 percent efficiency with a near diffraction limited beam. It has passed all space flight environmental tests at system, instrument, and satellite integration. The laser design draws on a heritage of previous laser altimetry missions, specifically ISESAT and Mars Global Surveyor; but incorporates thermal management features unique to the requirements of an orbit of the planet Mercury.

  1. The Role of Carbon in Core Formation Under Highly Reducing Conditions With Implications for the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E..; McCubbin, Francis M.; Ross, D. Kent; Draper, David S.

    2017-01-01

    Results from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have shown elevated abundances of carbon on the surface of Mercury. Furthermore, the X-Ray Spectrometer on board MESSENGER measured elevated abundances of sulfur and low abundances of iron, suggesting the planet's oxygen fugacity (fO2) is several log10 units below the Iron-Wüstite (IW) buffer. Similar to the role of other volatiles (e.g. sulfur) on highly reducing planetary bodies, carbon is expected to behave differently than it would under higher fO2. As discussed by Nittler et al. and Hauck et al., under such highly reducing conditions, the majority of the iron partitions into the core. On Mercury, this resulted in a relatively large core and a thin mantle. Using a composition similar to the largest volcanic field on the planet (the northern volcanic plains), Vander Kaaden and McCubbin conducted sink-float experiments to determine the density of melts and minerals on Mercury. They showed that graphite would be the only buoyant mineral in a mercurian magma ocean. Therefore, Vander Kaaden and McCubbin proposed a possible primary flotation crust on the planet composed of graphite. Concurrently, Peplowski et al. used GRS data from MESSENGER to show an average northern hemisphere abundance of C on the planet of 1.4 +/- 0.9 wt%. However, as this result was only at the one-sigma detection limit, possible carbon abundances at the three-sigma detection limit for Mercury range from 0 to 4.1 wt% carbon. Additionally, Murchie et al. investigated the possible darkening agent on Mercury and concluded that coarse-grained graphite could darken high reflectance plains to the low reflectance material. To further test the possibility of elevated abundances of carbon in Mercury's crust, Peplowski et al. used the low-altitude MESSENGER data to show that carbon is the only material consistent with both the visible to near-infrared spectra and the neutron measurements of low

  2. Dating thrust systems on Mercury: new clues on the thermal evolution of the planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giacomini, Lorenza; Massironi, Matteo; Ferrari, Sabrina; Zagato, Nicola

    2016-04-01

    The global tectonic scenario of Mercury is dominated by contractional features mainly represented by lobate scarps. These structures are the expression of surface-breaking thrust faults and are linear or arcuate features widely distributed on Mercury. Since they display a broad distribution of orientations, lobate scarps are thought to be related to a global contractional strain, associated to planetary cooling (Watters et al., 1998, Geology, 26, 991-994). The age determination of these features will contribute to better constrain whether limits could be placed on when the contraction occurred. For these reasons we dated two thrust systems, located in different regions of Mercury. The first system is located at the edge between Kuiper and Beethoven quadrangle (latitude 9°20'N-23°42'S and longitude 72°73'-59°52'W). These 1500-long thrust system is constituted by several lobate scarps with a NNE-SSW orientation. The second thrust system considered in this work is the Enterprise Rupes, a 820 km-long scarp system that cuts the Rembrandt basin. We dated the activity of these systems through the buffered crater counting technique, which is used to derive absolute model ages of linear landforms (e.g. Fassett and Head, 2008, Icarus, 198, 37-56; Giacomini, et al, 2015, GSL, 401, 291-311). The results gave comparable ages for the two systems and suggest that the activity along major rupes all around planet Mercury have most probably begun before 3.5 Ga. This will give us new clues to better understanding the thermal evolution of the planet.

  3. Assessing the Behavior of Typically Lithophile Elements Under Highly Reducing Conditions Relevant to the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowland, Rick, II; Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E.; McCubbin, Francis M.; Danielson, Lisa R.

    2017-01-01

    With the data returned from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, there are now numerous constraints on the physical and chemical properties of Mercury, including its surface composition (e.g., Evans et al. 2012; Nittler et al. 201 l; Peplowski et al. 2012; Weider et al. 2012). The high Sand low FeO contents observed from MESSENGER on the planet's surface suggests a low oxygen fugacity of the present planetary materials. Estimates of the oxygen fugacity for Mercurian magmas are approximately 3- 7 log units below the Iron-Wiistite (Fe-FeO) oxygen buffer (McCubbin et al. 2012; Zolotov et al. 2013), several orders of magnitude more reducing than other terrestrial bodies we have data from such as the Earth, Moon, or Mars (Herd 2008; Sharp, McCubbin, and Shearer 2013; Wadhwa 2008). Most of our understanding of elemental partitioning behavior comes from observations made on terrestrial rocks, but Mercury's oxygen fugacity is far outside the conditions of those samples. With limited oxygen available, lithophile elements may instead exhibit chalcophile, halophile, or siderophile behaviors. Furthermore, very few natural samples of rocks that formed under reducing conditions are available in our collections (e.g., enstatite chondrites, achondrites, aubrites). The goal of this study is to conduct experiments at high pressure and temperature conditions to determine the elemental partitioning behavior of typically lithophile elements as a function of decreasing oxygen fugacity.

  4. Assessing the Behavior of Typically Lithophile Elements Under Highly Reducing Conditions Relevant to the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowland, Rick, II; Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E.; McCubbin, Francis M.; Danielson, Lisa R.

    2017-01-01

    With the data returned from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, there are now numerous constraints on the physical and chemical properties of Mercury, including its surface composition. The high Sand low FeO contents observed from MESSENGER suggest a low oxygen fugacity of the present materials on the planet's surface. Most of our understanding of elemental partitioning behavior comes from observations made on terrestrial rocks, but Mercury's oxygen fugacity is far outside the conditions of those samples, estimated at approximately 3-7 log units below the Iron-Wtistite (lW) oxygen buffer, several orders of magnitude more reducing than other terrestrial bodies we have data from. With limited oxygen available, lithophile elements may instead exhibit chalcophile, halophile, or siderophile behaviors. Furthermore, very few natural samples of rocks that formed under reducing conditions (e.g., enstatite chondrites, achondrites, aubrites) are available in our collections for examination of this change in geochemical affinity. Our goal is to determine the elemental partitioning behavior of typically lithophile elements at lower oxygen fugacity as a function of temperature and pressure. Experiments were conducted at I GPa in a 13 mm QUICKpress piston cylinder and at 4 GPa in an 880-ton multianvil press, at temperatures up to 1850degC. The composition of starting materials for the experiments were designed so the final run products contained metal, silicate melt, and sulfide melt phases. Oxygen fugacity was controlled in the experiments by adding silicon metal to the samples, in order to utilize the Si-Si02 buffer, which is approximately 5 log units more reducing than the IW buffer at our temperatures of interest. The target silicate melt composition was diopside (CaMgSi206) because measured surface compositions indicate partial melting of a pyroxene-rich mantle. The results of our experiments will aid in our understanding of

  5. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Areal measurement of Mercury's first quadrant. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    Various linear and areal measurements of Mercury's first quadrant which were used in geological map preparation, map analysis, and statistical surveys of crater densities are discussed. Accuracy of each method rests on the determination of the scale of the photograph, i.e., the conversion factor between distances on the planet (in km) and distances on the photograph (in cm). Measurement errors arise due to uncertainty in Mercury's radius, poor resolution, poor coverage, high Sun angle illumination in the limb regions, planetary curvature, limited precision in measuring instruments, and inaccuracies in the printed map scales. Estimates are given for these errors.

  6. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Thermal histories of Mercury and the Moon. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    To determine a planet's thermal history, a wide range of data is necessary. These data include remote sensing results, photogeologic evidence, magnetic field and remanent magnetization data, composition and ages of samples, and physical parameters of the planet and its orbit. Few of these data form unambiguous constraints for thermal models of Mercury. Igneous Chronology as the time history of the differentiation and igneous activity, is defined. Igneous Chronology is used here in the sense of the apparent igneous or relative chronology of geologic events, such as plains formation (through whatever mechanism) relative to the crater production and tectonic history (lineament and scarp formation).

  7. Assessing the Behavior of Typically Lithophile Elements Under Highly Reducing Conditions Relevant to the Planet Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowland, R. L., II; Vander Kaaden, K. E.; McCubbin, F. M.; Danielson, L. R.

    2017-12-01

    With the data returned from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, there are now numerous constraints on the physical and chemical properties of Mercury, including its surface composition. The high S and low FeO contents observed from MESSENGER suggest a low oxygen fugacity of the present materials on the planet's surface. Most of our understanding of elemental partitioning behavior comes from observations made on terrestrial rocks, but Mercury's oxygen fugacity is far outside the conditions of those samples, estimated at approximately 3-7 log units below the Iron-Wüstite (IW) oxygen buffer, several orders of magnitude more reducing than other terrestrial bodies we have data from. With limited oxygen available, lithophile elements may instead exhibit chalcophile, halophile, or siderophile behaviors. Furthermore, very few natural samples of rocks that formed under reducing conditions (e.g., enstatite chondrites, achondrites, aubrites) are available in our collections for examination of this change in geochemical affinity. Our goal is to determine the elemental partitioning behavior of typically lithophile elements at lower oxygen fugacity as a function of temperature and pressure. Experiments were conducted at 1 GPa in a 13 mm QUICKpress piston cylinder and at 4 GPa in an 880-ton multi-anvil press, at temperatures up to 1850°C. The composition of starting materials for the experiments were designed so the final run products contained metal, silicate melt, and sulfide melt phases. Oxygen fugacity was controlled in the experiments by adding silicon metal to the samples, in order to utilize the Si-SiO2 buffer, which is 5 log units more reducing than the IW buffer at our temperatures of interest. The target silicate melt composition was diopside (CaMgSi2O6) because measured surface compositions indicate partial melting of a pyroxene-rich mantle. The results of our experiments will aid in our understanding of the fate of

  8. Planets

    CERN Document Server

    Kukla, Lauren

    2016-01-01

    Climb Aboard! Explore planets and how they are formed! Meet early astronomers and read about early astronomy! Investigate telescopes, satellites, rovers, and probes! Learn about different planets: terrestrial, gas, ice giants, dwarf, and exoplanets! See an infographic showing the solar system! Did You Know? facts and a Guidebook of planets in our solar system complete your journey. Aligned to Common Core standards and correlated to state standards. Checkerboard Library is an imprint of Abdo Publishing, a division of ABDO.

  9. Planets

    CERN Document Server

    DeYoe, Aaron

    2015-01-01

    Planets explores the science of what we see in the night sky. Kids will find out which planet in our solar system could float in a bathtub, learn how Neptune was discovered by math, explore the rocky surface of Mars and more. Engaging photos, exciting graphics, and a fun quiz at the end of each book will keep them learning. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Super Sandcastle is an imprint of Abdo Publishing, a division of ABDO.

  10. The interior configuration of planet Mercury constrained by moment of inertia and planetary contraction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Knibbe, J.S.; van Westrenen, W.

    2015-01-01

    This paper presents an analysis of present-day interior configuration models for Mercury considering cores of Fe-S or Fe-Si alloy, the latter possibly covered by a solid FeS layer, in light of the improved limit of planetary contraction of 7 km derived from MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment,

  11. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution: Introduction. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    The relative ages of various geologic units and structures place tight constraints on the origin of the Moon and the planet Mercury, and thus provide a better understanding of the geologic histories of these bodies. Crater statistics, a reexamination of lunar geologic maps, and the compilation of a geologic map of a quarter of Mercury's surface based on plains units dated relative to crater degradation classes were used to determine relative ages. This provided the basis for deducing the origin of intercrater plains and their role in terrestrial planet evolution.

  12. The extreme ultraviolet albedos of the planet Mercury and of the moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, H. H.; Broadfoot, A. L.

    1977-01-01

    The albedo of the moon in the far UV was measured by Mariner 10 at a solar phase angle of 74 deg, and the geometric albedo of Mercury was measured in same wavelength range (584-1657 A) at solar phase angles ranging from 50 to 120 deg. For both the moon and Mercury there is a general increase in albedo for wavelengths decreasing from 1657 to 584 A. The ratio of the albedos of Mercury and the moon increases from about 0.6 to 0.8 in the range 600-1600 A. This merely points to a difference in the surfaces of the moon and Mercury, there being insufficient data to make any conclusions regarding the nature of the difference.

  13. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Chronology of surface history of Mercury. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    Phases in the history of the planet Mercury include: (1) condensation and accretion; (2) heating; (3) planetary expansion during heavy bombardment; (4) tidal spin-down and lineament formation; (5) P5 plains emplacement; (6) P4 plains emplacement; (7) peak planetary volume in P3 period; (8) scarp formation; (9) Caloris Basin formation, late class 3; (10) scarp formation and P2 plains formation; (11) smooth plains formation in and around large basins; (12) late or local tectonic stress; and (13) quiescent class 1 period. Although the cooling and contraction of the lithosphere are complete, the core remains molten as an active dynamo, producing the magnetic fields detected by Mariner 10. Plains produced since core formation (P3 to P-1) should record its magnetic activity. Cratering during the Class 2 and Class 1 periods is probably not enough to distribute ballistic materials and homogenize any color differences.

  14. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Discussion of the nature, origin and role of the intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    The nature and origin of the intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon as determined through geologic mapping, crater statistics, and remotely sensed data are summarized. Implications of these results regarding scarp formation, absolute ages, and terrestrial planet surfaces are included. The role of the intercrater plains is defined and future work which might lead to a better understanding of these units and terrestrial planet evolution is outlined.

  15. Unveiling Mercury's Mysteries with BepiColombo - an ESA/JAXA Mission to Explore the Innermost Planet of our Solar System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benkhoff, J.

    2017-12-01

    NASA's MESSENGER mission has fundamentally changed our view of the innermost planet. Mercury is in many ways a very different planet from what we were expecting. Now BepiColombo has to follow up on answering the fundamental questions that MESSENGER raised and go beyond. BepiColombo is a joint project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Mission consists of two orbiters, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). The mission scenario foresees a launch of both spacecraft with an ARIANE V in October 2018 and an arrival at Mercury in 2025. From their dedicated orbits the two spacecraft will be studying the planet and its environment. BepiColombo will study and understand the composition, geophysics, atmosphere, magnetosphere and history of Mercury, the least explored planet in the inner Solar System. In addition, the BepiColombo mission will provide a rare opportunity to collect multi-point measurements in a planetary environment. This will be particularly important at Mercury because of short temporal and spatial scales in the Mercury's environment. The foreseen orbits of the MPO and MMO will allow close encounters of the two spacecrafts throughout the mission. The MPO scientific payload comprises eleven instruments/instrument packages; The MMO comprises 5 instruments/instrument packages to the the study of the environment. The MPO will focus on a global characterization of Mercury through the investigation of its interior, surface, exosphere and magnetosphere. In addition, it will be testing Einstein's theory of general relativity. Together, the scientific payload of both spacecraft will provide the detailed information necessary to understand Mercury and its magnetospheric environment and to find clues to the origin and evolution of a planet close to its parent star. The BepiColombo mission will complement and follow up the work of NASA's MESSENGER mission by

  16. Mercury

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Vries, Irma

    2017-01-01

    Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that exists in several physical and chemical forms. Inorganic mercury refers to compounds formed after the combining of mercury with elements such as chlorine, sulfur, or oxygen. After combining with carbon by covalent linkage, the compounds formed are called

  17. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Alternative thermal histories. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    Interpretations supporting a differentiated, once active Mercury are listed. Alternative scenarios of the planet's thermal history involve: different distributions of accreted materials, including uranium and thorium-rich materials; variations of early melting; and different modes of plains and scarp formation. Arguments are advanced which strongly favor plains formation by volcanism, lack of a primordial surface, and possible identification of remnant tensional features. Studies of remotely sensed data which strongly suggest a modestly homogeneous surface of silicates imply core separation. Reasons for accepting or rejecting various hypotheses for thermal histories of the planet are mentioned.

  18. Radar studies of the planets. [radar measurements of lunar surface, Mars, Mercury, and Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ingalls, R. P.; Pettengill, G. H.; Rogers, A. E. E.; Sebring, P. B. (Editor); Shapiro, I. I.

    1974-01-01

    The radar measurements phase of the lunar studies involving reflectivity and topographic mapping of the visible lunar surface was ended in December 1972, but studies of the data and production of maps have continued. This work was supported by Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston. Topographic mapping of the equatorial regions of Mars has been carried out during the period of each opposition since that of 1967. The method comprised extended precise traveling time measurements to a small area centered on the subradar point. As measurements continued, planetary motions caused this point to sweep out extensive areas in both latitude and longitude permitting the development of a fairly extensive topographical map in the equatorial region. Radar observations of Mercury and Venus have also been made over the past few years. Refinements of planetary motions, reflectivity maps and determinations of rotation rates have resulted.

  19. Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... build up in fish, shellfish, and animals that eat fish. The nervous system is sensitive to all forms of mercury. Exposure to high levels can damage the brain and kidneys. Pregnant women can pass the mercury in their bodies to their babies. It is important to protect your family from ...

  20. Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... has set a limit of 2 parts of mercury per billion parts of drinking water (2 ppb). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a maximum permissible level of 1 part of methylmercury in a million ... of 0.1 milligram of organic mercury per cubic meter of workplace air (0.1 ...

  1. Dance of the Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riddle, Bob

    2005-01-01

    As students continue their monthly plotting of the planets along the ecliptic they should start to notice differences between inner and outer planet orbital motions, and their relative position or separation from the Sun. Both inner and outer planets have direct eastward motion, as well as retrograde motion. Inner planets Mercury and Venus,…

  2. Shaded Spacecraft Radiators to Be Used on the Daytime Surface of the Mercury Planet, the Moon, and Asteroids of the Solar System Inner Part

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. A. Igrickii

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available During the daytime a surface of the Moon, Mercury planet, and asteroids of the Solar system inner part, significantly heats up, and infrared radiation of the local soil becomes essential. At the same time direct solar radiation and reflected from the surface solar radiation reach the maximum too. These radiation fluxes can significantly decrease the efficiency of spacecraft radiators in the daytime. This effect is especially strong on the Mercury surface where direct solar radiation is 10 times stronger than solar radiation near the Earth. As a result, on the daytime surface of the Mercury the conventional low-temperature radiators become completely disabled.The article describes the development of the special shaded spacecraft radiators to be used in daytime on the Mercury and other atmosphereless bodies of the Solar system inner part. To solve this task are used mirror shades. The shape of these shades is developed to improve operation conditions of the spacecraft radiator through the appropriate scheme of radiation reflection. The task is discussed in 2D and 3D cases. A new design of shaded spacecraft radiators is proposed, and reasonable proportions of radiators are determined. The performance capability of proposed radiators for environments of the Mercury and the Moon is estimated using the zonal method in view of partial mirror reflection. The calculations showed that the developed shaded spacecraft radiators are capable to work on the Mercury surface as the low-temperature radiators even during the daytime. New radiators provide minimum accepted operating temperature of 241К (-32°С, meanwhile radiators of common design have minimum operating temperature of 479К (206°С. Using such radiators on the Moon enables us to increase effectiveness of spacecraft radiators and to decrease their minimum operating temperature from 270К (-3°С to 137К (-136°С.

  3. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Geologic mapping of Mercury and the Moon. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    The geologic framework of the intercrater plains on Mercury and the Moon as determined through geologic mapping is presented. The strategies used in such mapping are discussed first. Then, because the degree of crater degradation is applied to both mapping and crater statistics, the correlation of degradation classification of lunar and Mercurian craters is thoroughly addressed. Different imaging systems can potentially affect this classification, and are therefore also discussed. The techniques used in mapping Mercury are discussed in Section 2, followed by presentation of the Geologic Map of Mercury in Section 3. Material units, structures, and relevant albedo and color data are discussed therein. Preliminary conclusions regarding plains' origins are given there. The last section presents the mapping analyses of the lunar intercrater plains, including tentative conclusions of their origin.

  4. Mercury: The Image of the Planet in the 210°-285° W Longitude Range Obtained by the Short-Exposure Method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ksanfomality, L. V.

    2003-11-01

    For the purpose of obtaining images of the unknown portion of Mercury, we continued the previously started series of observations of this planet by the short exposure method. Several thousand electronic images of Mercury have been acquired on 1-2 May 2002 under good meteorological conditions at the high-altitude Skinakas Astrophysical Observatory of Iraklion University (Crete, Greece, 35°13' E, 24°54' N) during the evening elongation. The phase angle of Mercury was 95°-99° and the observed range of longitudes was 210°-285° W. Observations were carried out using Ritchy-Chrétien telescope (D = 1.29 m, F = 9.857 m) with the KS 19 filter cutting wavelengths shorter than about 700 nm. The planet's disk was seen, on average, at an angle of 7.75'' arcsec. The image scale was equal to 47.8 μm/arcsec. We used a CCD with a pixel size of 7.4 × 7.4 μm in the regime of short exposures. By processing a great number of electronic images, we succeeded in obtaining a sufficiently distinct synthesized image of the unknown portion of Mercury's surface. The most prominent formation in this region is a giant basin (or cratered ``mare'') centered at about 8° N, 280° W, which was given a working name ``Skinakas basin'' (after the name of the observatory where observations were made). By its size, the interior part of this basin exceeds the largest lunar Mare Imbrium. As opposed to Mare Imbrium, the Skinakas basin is presumably of impact origin. Its relief resembles that of Caloris Planitia but the size is much larger. A series of smaller formations are also seen on synthesized images. The resolution obtained on the surface of Mercury is about 100 km, which is close to the telescope diffraction limit. Also considered are the published theoretical estimations of the possible advantages offered by the short exposure method. Some results obtained by other research groups are discussed.

  5. The Planet Mercury Surface Spectroscopy and Analysis from the Kuiper Airborne Observatory and Analysis and Modeling to Determine Surface Composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sprague, Ann

    1997-01-01

    We had two successful flights to observe Mercury from the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO) using High-efficiency Infrared Faint-Object Grating Spectrograph (HIFOGS). Flights were May 8, 1995 (eastern elongation) and July 6, 1995 (western elongation) For the observations one half of the primary mirror was covered to prevent sunlight from entering the telescope. All equipment and the airplane and its crew performed well. These flights were historical firsts for the KAO and for spectroscopy of Mercury in that it was the first time any spectroscopic observations of Mercury from above the Earth's atmosphere had been made. It was the first time the KAO had been used to @bserve an object less than 30 degrees from the Sun. Upon completion of the basic data reduction it became obvious that extensive modeling and analysis would be required to understand the data. It took three years of a graduate student's time and part time the PI to do the thermal modeling and the spectroscopic analysis. This resulted in a lengthy publication. A copy of this publication is attached and has all the data obtained in both KAO flights and the results clearly presented. Notable results are: (1) The observations found an as yet unexplained 5 micron emission enhancement that we think may be a real characteristic of Mercury's surface but could have an instrumental cause; (2) Ground-based measurements or an emission maximum at 7.7 microns were corroborated. The chemical composition of Mercury's surface must be feldspathic in order to explain spectra features found in the data obtained during the KAO flights.

  6. Mercury's shifting, rolling past

    OpenAIRE

    Trulove, Susan

    2008-01-01

    Patterns of scalloped-edged cliffs or lobate scarps on Mercury's surface are thrust faults that are consistent with the planet shrinking and cooling with time. However, compression occurred in the planet's early history and Mariner 10 images revealed decades ago that lobate scarps are among the youngest features on Mercury. Why don't we find more evidence of older compressive features?

  7. Mercury's Messenger

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, Clark R.

    2004-01-01

    Forty years after Mariner 2, planetary exploration has still only just begun, and many more missions are on drawing boards, nearing the launch pad, or even en route across interplanetary space to their targets. One of the most challenging missions that will be conducted this decade is sending the MESSENGER spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury.…

  8. Mercury is Moon's brother

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ksanfomalifi, L.V.

    1976-01-01

    The latest information on Mercury planet is presented obtained by studying the planet with the aid of radar and space vehicles. Rotation of Mercury about its axis has been discovered; within 2/3 of its year it executes a complete revolution about its axis. In images obtained by the ''Mariner-10'' Mercurys surface differs little from that of the Moon. The ''Mariner-10'' has also discovered the Mercurys atmosphere, which consists of extremely rarefied helium. The helium is continuously supplied to the planet by the solar wind. The Mercury's magnetic field has been discovered, whose strength is 35 x 10 -4 at the Equator and 70 x 10 -4 E at the poles. The inclination of the dipole axis to the Mercury's rotation axis is 7 deg

  9. Study and validation of a gamma-ray spectrometer for the remote analysis of the chemical composition of planetary surfaces: application to a mission to the planet Mercury

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pirard, B.

    2006-12-01

    This work deals with the design of a gamma-ray spectrometer for the remote analysis of the chemical composition of planetary surfaces and was performed in the frame of a mission scenario to explore the planet Mercury. The research studies consisted first in characterizing the detection performances of a gamma-ray spectrometer using a high-purity germanium crystal cooled actively at cryogenic temperatures. The high energy resolution of the detector allows an accurate measurement of the chemical composition for the main elements from oxygen to uranium. Thereafter the studies dealt with the critical issues addressed for the use of such a detector onboard a mission to the inner solar system. The radiation damage caused by solar protons in germanium crystals was investigated by experimental and numerical means. It has been shown that the detector resolution begins getting damaged for proton fluences over 5*10 8 p/cm 2 . An annealing session where the crystal is heated up to 80 C degrees for a 4-day period allows the detector to get back a sufficient resolution. Annealing over 100 C degrees gives back the detector its initial resolution. Finally, a numerical thermal model of the instrument as well as some tests on a thermal mockup were performed to validate the thermal design of the instrument

  10. Mercury's exosphere: observations during MESSENGER's First Mercury flyby.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClintock, William E; Bradley, E Todd; Vervack, Ronald J; Killen, Rosemary M; Sprague, Ann L; Izenberg, Noam R; Solomon, Sean C

    2008-07-04

    During MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby, the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer measured Mercury's exospheric emissions, including those from the antisunward sodium tail, calcium and sodium close to the planet, and hydrogen at high altitudes on the dayside. Spatial variations indicate that multiple source and loss processes generate and maintain the exosphere. Energetic processes connected to the solar wind and magnetospheric interaction with the planet likely played an important role in determining the distributions of exospheric species during the flyby.

  11. Histories of terrestrial planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Benes, K.

    1981-01-01

    The uneven historical development of terrestrial planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon and Mars - is probably due to the differences in their size, weight and rotational dynamics in association with the internal planet structure, their distance from the Sun, etc. A systematic study of extraterrestrial planets showed that the time span of internal activity was not the same for all bodies. It is assumed that the initial history of all terrestrial planets was marked with catastrophic events connected with the overall dynamic development of the solar system. In view of the fact that the cores of small terrestrial bodies cooled quicker, their geological development almost stagnated after two or three thousand million years. This is what probably happened to the Mercury and the Moon as well as the Mars. Therefore, traces of previous catastrophic events were preserved on the surface of the planets. On the other hand, the Earth is the most metamorphosed terrestrial planet and compared to the other planets appears to be atypical. Its biosphere is significantly developed as well as the other shell components, its hydrosphere and atmosphere, and its crust is considerably differentiated. (J.P.)

  12. Terrestrial planet formation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Righter, K; O'Brien, D P

    2011-11-29

    Advances in our understanding of terrestrial planet formation have come from a multidisciplinary approach. Studies of the ages and compositions of primitive meteorites with compositions similar to the Sun have helped to constrain the nature of the building blocks of planets. This information helps to guide numerical models for the three stages of planet formation from dust to planetesimals (~10(6) y), followed by planetesimals to embryos (lunar to Mars-sized objects; few 10(6) y), and finally embryos to planets (10(7)-10(8) y). Defining the role of turbulence in the early nebula is a key to understanding the growth of solids larger than meter size. The initiation of runaway growth of embryos from planetesimals ultimately leads to the growth of large terrestrial planets via large impacts. Dynamical models can produce inner Solar System configurations that closely resemble our Solar System, especially when the orbital effects of large planets (Jupiter and Saturn) and damping mechanisms, such as gas drag, are included. Experimental studies of terrestrial planet interiors provide additional constraints on the conditions of differentiation and, therefore, origin. A more complete understanding of terrestrial planet formation might be possible via a combination of chemical and physical modeling, as well as obtaining samples and new geophysical data from other planets (Venus, Mars, or Mercury) and asteroids.

  13. Mercury's magnetic field and interior

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Connerney, J.E.P.; Ness, N.F.

    1988-01-01

    The magnetic-field data collected on Mercury by the Mariner-10 spacecraft present substantial evidence for an intrinsic global magnetic field. However, studies of Mercury's thermal evolution show that it is most likely that the inner core region of Mercury solidified or froze early in the planet's history. Thus, the explanation of Mercury's magnetic field in the framework of the traditional planetary dynamo is less than certain

  14. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Cratering histories of the intercrater plains. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon are defined, in part, by their high densities of small craters. The crater size frequency statistics presented in this chapter may help constrain the relative ages and origins of these surfaces. To this end, the effects of common geologic processes on crater frequency statistics are compared with the diameter frequency distributions of the intercrater regions of the Moon and Mercury. Such analyses may determine whether secondary craters dominate the distribution at small diameters, and whether volcanic plains or ballistic deposits form the intercrater surface. Determining the mass frequency distribution and flux of the impacting population is a more difficult problem. The necessary information such as scaling relationships between projectile energy and crater diameter, the relative fluxes of solar system objects, and the absolute ages of surface units is model dependent and poorly constrained, especially for Mercury.

  15. Taxonomy of the extrasolar planet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plávalová, Eva

    2012-04-01

    When a star is described as a spectral class G2V, we know that the star is similar to our Sun. We know its approximate mass, temperature, age, and size. When working with an extrasolar planet database, it is very useful to have a taxonomy scale (classification) such as, for example, the Harvard classification for stars. The taxonomy has to be easily interpreted and present the most relevant information about extrasolar planets. I propose an extrasolar planet taxonomy scale with four parameters. The first parameter concerns the mass of an extrasolar planet in the form of units of the mass of other known planets, where M represents the mass of Mercury, E that of Earth, N Neptune, and J Jupiter. The second parameter is the planet's distance from its parent star (semimajor axis) described in a logarithm with base 10. The third parameter is the mean Dyson temperature of the extrasolar planet, for which I established four main temperature classes: F represents the Freezing class, W the Water class, G the Gaseous class, and R the Roasters class. I devised one additional class, however: P, the Pulsar class, which concerns extrasolar planets orbiting pulsar stars. The fourth parameter is eccentricity. If the attributes of the surface of the extrasolar planet are known, we are able to establish this additional parameter where t represents a terrestrial planet, g a gaseous planet, and i an ice planet. According to this taxonomy scale, for example, Earth is 1E0W0t, Neptune is 1N1.5F0i, and extrasolar planet 55 Cnc e is 9E-1.8R1.

  16. MESSENGER: Exploring Mercury's Magnetosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A.

    2008-01-01

    The MESSENGER mission to Mercury offers our first opportunity to explore this planet's miniature magnetosphere since Mariner 10's brief fly-bys in 1974-5. Mercury's magnetosphere is unique in many respects. The magnetosphere of Mercury is the smallest in the solar system with its magnetic field typically standing off the solar wind only - 1000 to 2000 km above the surface. For this reason there are no closed dri-fi paths for energetic particles and, hence, no radiation belts; the characteristic time scales for wave propagation and convective transport are short possibly coupling kinetic and fluid modes; magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause may erode the subsolar magnetosphere allowing solar wind ions to directly impact the dayside regolith; inductive currents in Mercury's interior should act to modify the solar In addition, Mercury's magnetosphere is the only one with its defining magnetic flux tubes rooted in a planetary regolith as opposed to an atmosphere with a conductive ionosphere. This lack of an ionosphere is thought to be the underlying reason for the brevity of the very intense, but short lived, approx. 1-2 min, substorm-like energetic particle events observed by Mariner 10 in Mercury's magnetic tail. In this seminar, we review what we think we know about Mercury's magnetosphere and describe the MESSENGER science team's strategy for obtaining answers to the outstanding science questions surrounding the interaction of the solar wind with Mercury and its small, but dynamic magnetosphere.

  17. Observations of Mercury in 1988 and 1989

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schmude, R.W. Jr.

    1990-01-01

    A visual study of the planet Mercury was carried out in May 1988 and in April and May 1989. Most of the observations were made with the 35.5-cm telescope at the Texas A ampersand M University Observatory. This report presents drawings and a map of Mercury that covers the longitude range of 195-285 deg. One important finding was that a polarizing filter combined with color filters gives a sharper view of the planet. It is also concluded that high-resolution images of Mercury's terminator, either as seen from the earth or with the Hubble Space Telescope, can provide information about Mercury's topography. 10 refs

  18. The tectonics of Mercury

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Melosh, H.J.; Mckinnon, W.B.

    1988-01-01

    The probable tectonic history of Mercury and the relative sequence of events are discussed on the basis of data collected by the Mariner-10 spacecraft. Results indicate that Mercury's tectonic activity was confined to its early history; its endogenic activity was principally due to a small change in the shape of its lithosphere, caused by tidal despinning, and a small change in area caused by shrinkage due to cooling. Exogenic processes, in particular the impact activity, have produced more abundant tectonic features. Many features associated with the Caloris basin are due to loading of Mercury's thick lithosphere by extrusive lavas or subsidence due to magma withdrawal. It is emphasized that tectonic features observed on Mercury yield insight into the earliest tectonic events on planets like Mars and, perhaps, the earth, where subsequent events obscured or erased the most ancient tectonic records

  19. Planetesimals and Planet Formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, John

    The first step in the standard model for planet formation is the growth of gravitationally bound bodies called ``planetesimals'' from dust grains in a protoplanetary disk. Currently, we do not know how planetesimals form, how long they take to form, or what their sizes and mechanical properties are. The goal of this proposal is to assess how these uncertainties affect subsequent stages of planetary growth and the kind of planetary systems that form. The work will address three particular questions: (i) Can the properties of small body populations in the modern Solar System constrain the properties of planetesimals? (ii) How do the properties of planetesimals affect the formation of giant planets? (iii) How does the presence of a water ice condensation front (the ``snow line'') in a disk affect planetesimal formation and the later stages of planetary growth? These questions will be examined with computer simulations of planet formation using new computer codes to be developed as part of the proposal. The first question will be addressed using a statistical model for planetesimal coagulation and fragmentation. This code will be merged with the proposer's Mercury N-body integrator code to model the dynamics of large protoplanets in order to address the second question. Finally, a self- consistent model of disk evolution and the radial transport of water ice and vapour will be added to examine the third question. A theoretical understanding of how planets form is one of the key goals of NASA and the Origins of Solar Systems programme. Researchers have carried out many studies designed to address this goal, but the questions of how planetesimals form and how their properties affect planet formation have received relatively little attention. The proposed work will help address these unsolved questions, and place other research in context by assessing the importance of planetesimal origins and properties for planet formation.

  20. Perihelic shift of planets due to the gravitational field of the charged Sun

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Teli, M.T.; Palaskar, D.

    1984-01-01

    The perihelic shift of planets due to the charged Sun is calculated. The results when compared with experimental shifts suggest that the planets Mercury, Venus and Icarus do not possess self-electromagnetic fields

  1. Armenian Names of the Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harutyunian, Haik A.

    2007-08-01

    Striking similarities between the Armenian names of visible to the naked eye planets and their ancient Greek names used before 6 - 5 centuries BC are presented. Mercury, for instance, was called Stilbon in Greece which means “the Gleaming” and coincides with Armenian Paylatsou. One of the names of Venus was Phosphoros and in Armenia it is called Lusaber - both of these terms meaning the “Bringer of Light”. Ancient Greeks named the fourth planet Pyroeis meaning “fiery”. The Armenian name of this planet Hrat consists of the word “hur” meaning fire and a suffix “at”. Jupiter's and Saturn's ancient names are considered as well. Moreover, the term planet has its Armenian version being in the use more than 2500 years.

  2. Mercury's Dynamic Magnetic Tail

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A.

    2010-01-01

    The Mariner 10 and MESSENGER flybys of Mercury have revealed a magnetosphere that is likely the most responsive to upstream interplanetary conditions of any in the solar system. The source of the great dynamic variability observed during these brief passages is due to Mercury's proximity to the Sun and the inverse proportionality between reconnection rate and solar wind Alfven Mach number. However, this planet's lack of an ionosphere and its small physical dimensions also contribute to Mercury's very brief Dungey cycle, approx. 2 min, which governs the time scale for internal plasma circulation. Current observations and understanding of the structure and dynamics of Mercury's magnetotail are summarized and discussed. Special emphasis will be placed upon such questions as: 1) How much access does the solar wind have to this small magnetosphere as a function of upstream conditions? 2) What roles do heavy planetary ions play? 3) Do Earth-like substorms take place at Mercury? 4) How does Mercury's tail respond to extreme solar wind events such coronal mass ejections? Prospects for progress due to advances in the global magnetohydrodynamic and hybrid simulation modeling and the measurements to be taken by MESSENGER after it enters Mercury orbit on March 18, 2011 will be discussed.

  3. Magic Planet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland

    2009-01-01

    Med den digitale globe som omdrejningspunkt bestemmer publikum, hvilken planet, der er i fokus. Vores solsystem udforskes interaktivt. Udgivelsesdato: november......Med den digitale globe som omdrejningspunkt bestemmer publikum, hvilken planet, der er i fokus. Vores solsystem udforskes interaktivt. Udgivelsesdato: november...

  4. Reference Atmosphere for Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Killen, Rosemary M.

    2002-01-01

    We propose that Ar-40 measured in the lunar atmosphere and that in Mercury's atmosphere is due to current diffusion into connected pore space within the crust. Higher temperatures at Mercury, along with more rapid loss from the atmosphere will lead to a smaller column abundance of argon at Mercury than at the Moon, given the same crustal abundance of potassium. Because the noble gas abundance in the Hermean atmosphere represents current effusion, it is a direct measure of the crustal potassium abundance. Ar-40 in the atmospheres of the planets is a measure of potassium abundance in the interiors, since Ar-40 is a product of radiogenic decay of K-40 by electron capture with the subsequent emission of a 1.46 eV gamma-ray. Although the Ar-40 in the Earth's atmosphere is expected to have accumulated since the late bombardment, Ar-40 in the atmospheres of Mercury and the Moon is eroded quickly by photoionization and electron impact ionization. Thus, the argon content in the exospheres of the Moon and Mercury is representative of current effusion rather than accumulation over the lifetime of the planet.

  5. MESSENGER'S First Flyby of Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A.

    2008-01-01

    The MESSENGER mission to Mercury offers our first opportunity to explore this planet's miniature magnetosphere since Mariner 10's brief fly-bys in 1974-5. The magnetosphere of Mercury is the smallest in the solar system with its magnetic field typically standing off the solar wind only - 1000 to 2000 km above the surface. An overview of the MESSENGER mission and its January 14th close flyby of Mercury will be provided. Primary science objectives and the science instrumentation will be described. Initial results from MESSENGER'S first flyby on January 14th, 2008 will be discussed with an emphasis on the magnetic field and charged particle measurements.

  6. Mercury: Beethoven Quadrangle, H-7

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    Mercury: Computer Photomosaic of the Beethoven Quadrangle, H-7 The Beethoven Quadrangle, named for the 19th century classical German composer, lies in Mercury's Equatorial Mercator located between longitude 740 to 1440. The Mariner 10 spacecraft imaged the region during its initial flyby of the planet. The Image Processing Lab at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory produced this photomosaic using computer software and techniques developed for use in processing planetary data. The images used to construct the Beethoven Quadrangle were taken as Mariner 10 flew passed Mercury. The Mariner 10 spacecraft was launched in 1974. The spacecraft took images of Venus in February 1974 on the way to three encounters with Mercury in March and September 1974 and March 1975. The spacecraft took more than 7,000 images of Mercury, Venus, the Earth and the Moon during its mission. The Mariner 10 Mission was managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C.

  7. A sub-Mercury-sized exoplanet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barclay, Thomas; Rowe, Jason F; Lissauer, Jack J; Huber, Daniel; Fressin, François; Howell, Steve B; Bryson, Stephen T; Chaplin, William J; Désert, Jean-Michel; Lopez, Eric D; Marcy, Geoffrey W; Mullally, Fergal; Ragozzine, Darin; Torres, Guillermo; Adams, Elisabeth R; Agol, Eric; Barrado, David; Basu, Sarbani; Bedding, Timothy R; Buchhave, Lars A; Charbonneau, David; Christiansen, Jessie L; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jørgen; Ciardi, David; Cochran, William D; Dupree, Andrea K; Elsworth, Yvonne; Everett, Mark; Fischer, Debra A; Ford, Eric B; Fortney, Jonathan J; Geary, John C; Haas, Michael R; Handberg, Rasmus; Hekker, Saskia; Henze, Christopher E; Horch, Elliott; Howard, Andrew W; Hunter, Roger C; Isaacson, Howard; Jenkins, Jon M; Karoff, Christoffer; Kawaler, Steven D; Kjeldsen, Hans; Klaus, Todd C; Latham, David W; Li, Jie; Lillo-Box, Jorge; Lund, Mikkel N; Lundkvist, Mia; Metcalfe, Travis S; Miglio, Andrea; Morris, Robert L; Quintana, Elisa V; Stello, Dennis; Smith, Jeffrey C; Still, Martin; Thompson, Susan E

    2013-02-28

    Since the discovery of the first exoplanets, it has been known that other planetary systems can look quite unlike our own. Until fairly recently, we have been able to probe only the upper range of the planet size distribution, and, since last year, to detect planets that are the size of Earth or somewhat smaller. Hitherto, no planets have been found that are smaller than those we see in the Solar System. Here we report a planet significantly smaller than Mercury. This tiny planet is the innermost of three that orbit the Sun-like host star, which we have designated Kepler-37. Owing to its extremely small size, similar to that of the Moon, and highly irradiated surface, the planet, Kepler-37b, is probably rocky with no atmosphere or water, similar to Mercury.

  8. A sub-Mercury-sized exoplanet

    OpenAIRE

    Barclay, Thomas; Ciardi, David; Howard, Andrew W.

    2013-01-01

    Since the discovery of the first exoplanets, it has been known that other planetary systems can look quite unlike our own. Until fairly recently, we have been able to probe only the upper range of the planet size distribution, and, since last year, to detect planets that are the size of Earth or somewhat smaller. Hitherto, no planets have been found that are smaller than those we see in the Solar System. Here we report a planet significantly smaller than Mercury. This tiny planet is the inner...

  9. Pluto: Planet or "Dwarf Planet"?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voelzke, M. R.; de Araújo, M. S. T.

    2010-09-01

    In August 2006 during the XXVI General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), taken place in Prague, Czech Republic, new parameters to define a planet were established. According to this new definition Pluto will be no more the ninth planet of the Solar System but it will be changed to be a "dwarf planet". This reclassification of Pluto by the academic community clearly illustrates how dynamic science is and how knowledge of different areas can be changed and evolves through the time, allowing to perceive Science as a human construction in a constant transformation, subject to political, social and historical contexts. These epistemological characteristics of Science and, in this case, of Astronomy, constitute important elements to be discussed in the lessons, so that this work contributes to enable Science and Physics teachers who perform a basic education to be always up to date on this important astronomical fact and, thereby, carry useful information to their teaching.

  10. Magnetic field of Mercury

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jackson, D.J.; Beard, D.B.

    1977-01-01

    The geomagnetic field, suitably scaled down and parameterized, is shown to give a very good fit to the magnetic field measurements taken on the first and third passes of the Mariner 10 space probe past Mercury. The excellence of the fit to a reliable planetary magnetospheric model is good evidence that the Mercury magnetosphere is formed by a simple, permanent, intrinsic planetary magnetic field distorted by the effects of the solar wind. The parameters used for a best fit to all the data are (depending slightly on the choice of data) 2.44--2.55 for the ratio of Mercury's magnetic field strength at the subsolar point to that of the earth's subsolar point field (this results in a dipole moment of 170 γR/sub M/ 3 (R/sub M/ is Mercury Radius), i.e., 2.41 x 10 22 G cm 3 in the same direction as the earth's dipole), approx.-113 γR/sub M/ 4 for the planetary quadrupole moment parallel to the dipole moment, 10degree--17degree for the tilt of the planet dipole toward the sun, 4.5degree for the tilt of the dipole toward dawn, and 2.5degree--7.6degree aberration angle for the shift in the tail axis from the planet-sun direction because of the planet's orbital velocity. The rms deviation overall for the entire data set compared with the theoretical fitted model for the magnetic field strength was 17 γ (approx.4% of the maximum field measured). If the data from the first pass that show presumed strong time variations are excluded, the overall rms deviation for the field magnitude is only 10 γ

  11. Mercury and Your Health

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... the Risk of Exposure to Mercury Learn About Mercury What is Mercury What is Metallic mercury? Toxicological Profile ToxFAQs Mercury Resources CDC’s National Biomonitoring Program Factsheet on Mercury ...

  12. Mercury's complex exosphere: results from MESSENGER's third flyby.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vervack, Ronald J; McClintock, William E; Killen, Rosemary M; Sprague, Ann L; Anderson, Brian J; Burger, Matthew H; Bradley, E Todd; Mouawad, Nelly; Solomon, Sean C; Izenberg, Noam R

    2010-08-06

    During MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury, the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer detected emission from ionized calcium concentrated 1 to 2 Mercury radii tailward of the planet. This measurement provides evidence for tailward magnetospheric convection of photoions produced inside the magnetosphere. Observations of neutral sodium, calcium, and magnesium above the planet's north and south poles reveal altitude distributions that are distinct for each species. A two-component sodium distribution and markedly different magnesium distributions above the two poles are direct indications that multiple processes control the distribution of even single species in Mercury's exosphere.

  13. Mercury's Complex Exosphere: Results from MESSENGER's Third Flyby

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vervack, Ronald J., Jr.; McClintock, William E.; Killen, Rosemary M.; Sprague, Ann L.; Anderson, Brian J.; Burger, Matthew H.; Bradley, E. Todd; Mouawad, Nelly; Solomon, Sean C.; Izenberg, Noam R.

    2010-01-01

    During MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury, the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer detected emission from ionized calcium concentrated 1 to 2 Mercury radii tailward of the planet. This measurement provides evidence for tailward magnetospheric convection of photoions produced inside the magnetosphere. Observations of neutral sodium, calcium, and magnesium above the planet's north and south poles reveal attitude distributions that are distinct for each species. A two-component sodium distribution and markedly different magnesium distributions above the two poles are direct indications that multiple processes control the distribution of even single species in Mercury's exosphere,

  14. Origin and composition of Mercury

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lewis, J.S.

    1988-01-01

    The predictions of the expected range of composition of Mercury at the time of its formation made on the basis of a suite of condensation-accretion models of Mercury spanning a range of condensation temperature and accretion sampling functions appropriate to Mercury are examined. It is concluded that these compositonal models can, if modified to take into account the nonselective loss of most of the silicate component of the planet during accretion, provide compositional predictions for the Weidenschilling (1978, 1980) mechanism for the accretion of a metal-rich Mercury. The silicate portion would, in this case, contain 3.6 to 4.5 percent alumina, roughly 1 percent of alkali oxides, and between 0.5 and 6 percent FeO

  15. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Geologic map analyses: Correlation of geologic and cratering histories. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    Geologic map analyses are expanded, beginning with a discussion of particular regions which may illustrate volcanic and ballistic plains emplacement on Mercury. Major attention is focused on the surface history of Mercury through discussion of the areal distribution of plains and craters and the paleogeologic maps of the first quadrant. A summary of the lunar intercrater plains formation similarly interrelates the information from the Moon's geologic and cratering histories.

  16. Got Mercury?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyers, Valerie E.; McCoy, J. Torin; Garcia, Hector D.; James, John T.

    2009-01-01

    Many of the operational and payload lighting units used in various spacecraft contain elemental mercury. If these devices were damaged on-orbit, elemental mercury could be released into the cabin. Although there are plans to replace operational units with alternate light sources, such as LEDs, that do not contain mercury, mercury-containing lamps efficiently produce high quality illumination and may never be completely replaced on orbit. Therefore, exposure to elemental mercury during spaceflight will remain possible and represents a toxicological hazard. Elemental mercury is a liquid metal that vaporizes slowly at room temperature. However, it may be completely vaporized at the elevated operating temperatures of lamps. Although liquid mercury is not readily absorbed through the skin or digestive tract, mercury vapors are efficiently absorbed through the respiratory tract. Therefore, the amount of mercury in the vapor form must be estimated. For mercury releases from lamps that are not being operated, we utilized a study conducted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Quality to calculate the amount of mercury vapor expected to form over a 2-week period. For longer missions and for mercury releases occurring when lamps are operating, we conservatively assumed complete volatilization of the available mercury. Because current spacecraft environmental control systems are unable to remove mercury vapors, both short-term and long-term exposures to mercury vapors are possible. Acute exposure to high concentrations of mercury vapors can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and behavioral symptoms, such as irritability and hyperactivity. Chronic exposure can result in damage to the nervous system (tremors, memory loss, insomnia, etc.) and kidneys (proteinurea). Therefore, the JSC Toxicology Group recommends that stringent safety controls and verifications (vibrational testing, etc.) be applied to any hardware that contains elemental mercury that could yield

  17. Planet Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Afonso, Isabel

    2014-05-01

    A more adequate name for Planet Earth could be Planet Ocean, seeing that ocean water covers more than seventy percent of the planet's surface and plays a fundamental role in the survival of almost all living species. Actually, oceans are aqueous solutions of extraordinary importance due to its direct implications in the current living conditions of our planet and its potential role on the continuity of life as well, as long as we know how to respect the limits of its immense but finite capacities. We may therefore state that natural aqueous solutions are excellent contexts for the approach and further understanding of many important chemical concepts, whether they be of chemical equilibrium, acid-base reactions, solubility and oxidation-reduction reactions. The topic of the 2014 edition of GIFT ('Our Changing Planet') will explore some of the recent complex changes of our environment, subjects that have been lately included in Chemistry teaching programs. This is particularly relevant on high school programs, with themes such as 'Earth Atmosphere: radiation, matter and structure', 'From Atmosphere to the Ocean: solutions on Earth and to Earth', 'Spring Waters and Public Water Supply: Water acidity and alkalinity'. These are the subjects that I want to develop on my school project with my pupils. Geographically, our school is located near the sea in a region where a stream flows into the sea. Besides that, our school water comes from a borehole which shows that the quality of the water we use is of significant importance. This project will establish and implement several procedures that, supported by physical and chemical analysis, will monitor the quality of water - not only the water used in our school, but also the surrounding waters (stream and beach water). The samples will be collected in the borehole of the school, in the stream near the school and in the beach of Carcavelos. Several physical-chemical characteristics related to the quality of the water will

  18. A septet of Earth-sized planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Triaud, Amaury; SPECULOOS Team; TRAPPIST-1 Team

    2017-10-01

    Understanding the astronomical requirements for life to emerge, and to persist, on a planet is one of the most important and exciting scientific endeavours, yet without empirical answers. To resolve this, multiple planets whose sizes and surface temperatures are similar to the Earth, need to be discovered. Those planets also need to possess properties enabling detailed atmospheric characterisation with forthcoming facilities, from which chemical traces produced by biological activity can in principle be identified.I will describe a dedicated search for such planets called SPECULOOS. Our first detection is the TRAPPIST-1 system. Intensive ground-based and space-based observations have revealed that at least seven planets populate this system. We measured their radii and obtained first estimates of their masses thanks to transit-timing variations. I will describe our on-going observational efforts aiming to reduce our uncertainties on the planet properties. The incident flux on the planets ranges from Mercury to Ceres, comprising the Earth, and permitting climatic comparisons between each of those worlds such as is not possible within our Solar system. All seven planets have the potential to harbour liquid water on at least a fraction of their surfaces, given some atmospheric and geological conditions.

  19. Tectonic evolution of mercury; comparison with the moon

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thomas, P.G.; Masson, P.

    1983-01-01

    With regard to the Earth or to Mars, the Moon and Mercury look like tectonicless planetary bodies, and the prominent morphologies of these two planets are due to impact and volcanic processes. Despite these morphologies, several types of tectonic activities may be shown. Statistical studies of lineaments direction indicate that Mercury, as well as the Moon, have a planet wide lineament pattern, known as a ''grid''. Statistical studies of Mercury scarps and the Moon grabens indicate an interaction between planetary lithospheric evolution and large impact basins. Detailed studies of the largest basins indicate specific tectonic motions directly or indirectly related to impacts. These three tectonic types have been compared on each planet. The first tectonic type seems to be identical for Mercury and the Moon. But the two other types seem to be different, and are consistent with the planets' thermal evolution

  20. Design and Performance Measurement of the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Xiao-Li; Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Bartels, Arlin E.

    2004-01-01

    We report the design and test results of the Mercury Laser Altimeter on MESSENGER mission to be launched in May 2004. The altimeter will provide planet surface topography measurements via laser pulse time of flight.

  1. Dynamical Constraints on Non-Transiting Planets at Trappist-1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jontof-Hutter, Daniel; Truong, Vinh; Ford, Eric; Robertson, Paul; Terrien, Ryan

    2018-04-01

    The outermost of the seven known planets of Trappist-1 orbits six times closer to its host star than Mercury orbits the sun. The architecture of this system beyond 0.07 AU remains unknown. While the presence of additional planets will ultimately be determined by observations, in the meantime, some constraints can be derived from dynamical models.We will firstly look at the expected signature of additional planets at Trappist-1 on the transit times of the known planets to determine at what distances putatuve planets can be ruled out.Secondly, the remarkably compact configuration of Trappist-1 ensures that the known planets are secularly coupled, keeping their mutual inclinations very small and making their cotransiting geometry likely if Trappist-1h transits. We determine the range of masses and orbital inclinations of a putatuve outer planet that would make the observed configuration unlikely, and compare these to these constraints to those expected from radial velocity observations.

  2. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Remote sensing and physical data and the Moon. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    Imagery data from Mariner 10 and Lunar Orbiter IV form the major base of observations analyzed. But a variety of other information aids in constraining the composition and structure of the Moon and Mercury, and in particular, provides input to the problem of the nature and origin of their intercrater plains. This information for Mercury is remotely sensed from Earth or from the Mariner 10 spacecraft. Lunar data includes, of course, ground truth information from the Apollo landing sites. Since neither intercrater region was sampled, lunar and Mercurian data are similar in type and limitations. Constraints on surface and interior composition and structure are reviewed.

  3. Basic Information about Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Your Environment Contact Us Share Basic Information about Mercury On this page: What is mercury? Emissions of ... Consumer products that traditionally contain mercury What is Mercury? Mercury is a naturally-occurring chemical element found ...

  4. Mercury's magnetosphere and magnetotial revisited

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bergan, S.; Engle, I.M.

    1981-01-01

    Magnetic observations which are not complicated by currents of trapped plasma are a good test of geomagnetopause and geomagnetotail predictions. Recent attempts to model the Hermean magnetospheric field based on a planet-centered magnetic multipole field with a quadrupole moment in addition to the planetary dipole field or a dipole field linearly displaced from planet center and no quadrupole moment have produced reasonably good fits to the Mercury magnetic field measurements. In this work we find a better fit for a dipole displacement from the planet center by making use of an improved representation of the magnetic field in the magnetotail, where many of the Mercury measurements were made. The rms deviation of the data was reduced from 10. or 11. γ to 9.3 γ by employing this new tail field representation. Also, by making use of this new tail field representation, we find a best fit for a dipole displacement of -0.0285 R/sub M/ (earlier, 0.026 R/sub M/) toward the dawn in the magnetic equatorial plane and 0.17 R/sub M/ (earlier, 0.189 R/sub M/ (earlier 0.189 R/sub M/) northward along the magnetic dipole axis, where R/sub M/ is the planet radius. Thus with only minor adjustments in the displacement vector of the dipole from the planet center we achieve a measurable improvement in the fit of the data by using the improved magnetotail field representation

  5. Guide to the universe inner planets

    CERN Document Server

    Grier, Jennifer

    2009-01-01

    This volume in the Greenwood Guides to the Universe series covers the inner planets-Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Thematic chapters discuss all of the many areas of astronomical research surrounding each subject, providing readers with the most up-to-date understanding of current knowledge and the ways in which it has been obtained. Like all of the books in this series, Inner Planets is scientifically sound, but written with the student in mind. It is an excellent first step for researching the exciting scientific discoveries of the Earth and its closest neighbors.

  6. Optical System Design and Integration of the Mercury Laser Altimeter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Scott, V. Stanley, III; Schmidt, Stephen; Britt, Jamie; Mamakos, William; Trunzo, Raymond; Cavanaugh, John; Miller, Roger

    2005-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA). developed for the 2004 MESSENGER mission to Mercury, is designed to measure the planet's topography via laser ranging. A description of the MLA optical system and its measured optical performance during instrument-level and spacecraft-level integration and testing are presented.

  7. How Tiny Collisions Shape Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2017-07-01

    If space rocks are unpleasant to encounter, space dust isnt much better. Mercurys cratered surface tells of billions of years of meteoroid impacts but its thin atmosphere is what reveals its collisional history with smaller impactors. Now new research is providing a better understanding of what were seeing.Micrometeoroids Ho!The inner solar system is bombarded by micrometeoroids, tiny particles of dust (on the scale of a tenth of a millimeter) emitted by asteroids and comets as they make their closest approach to the Sun. This dust doesnt penetrateEarths layers of atmosphere, but the innermost planet of our solar system, Mercury, doesnt have this convenient cushioning.Just as Mercury is affected by the impacts of large meteoroids, its also shaped by the many smaller-scale impacts it experiences. These tiny collisions are thought to vaporize atoms and molecules from the planets surface, which quickly dissociate. This process adds metals to Mercurys exosphere, the planets extremely tenuous atmosphere.Modeling PopulationsDistribution of the directions from which meteoroids originate before impacting Mercurys surface, as averaged over its entire orbit. Local time of 12 hr corresponds to the Sun-facing side. A significant asymmetry is seen between the dawn (6 hrs) and dusk (18 hrs) rates. [Pokorn et al. 2017]The metal distribution in the exosphere provides a way for us to measure the effect of micrometeoroid impacts on Mercury but this only works if we have accurate models of the process. A team of scientists led by Petr Pokorn (The Catholic University of America and NASA Goddard SFC) has now worked to improve our picture of micrometeoroid impact vaporization on Mercury.Pokorn and collaborators argue that two meteoroid populations Jupiter-family comets (short-period) and Halley-type comets (long-period) contribute the dust for the majority of micrometeoroid impacts on Mercury. The authors model the dynamics and evolution of these two populations, reproducing the

  8. The escape of natural satellites from Mercury and Venus

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kumar, S.S.

    1977-01-01

    It is suggested that the slow rotations of Mercury and Venus may be connected with the absence of natural satellites around them. If Mercury or Venus possessed a satellite at the time of formation, the tidal evolution would have caused the satellite to recede. At a sufficiently large distance from the planet, the Sun's gravitational influence makes the satellite orbit unstable. The natural satellites of Mercury and Venus might have escaped as a consequence of this instability. (Auth.)

  9. Planet formation and disk-planet interactions

    OpenAIRE

    Kley, Wilhelm

    2017-01-01

    This review is based on lectures given at the 45th Saas-Fee Advanced Course 'From Protoplanetary Disks to Planet Formation' held in March 2015 in Les Diablerets, Switzerland. Starting with an overview of the main characterictics of the Solar System and extrasolar planets, we describe the planet formation process in terms of the sequential accretion scenario. First the growth processes of dust particles to planetesimals and subsequently to terrestrial planets or planetary cores are presented. ...

  10. The Messenger Mission to Mercury

    CERN Document Server

    Domingue, D. L

    2007-01-01

    NASA’s MESSENGER mission, launched on 3 August, 2004 is the seventh mission in the Discovery series. MESSENGER encounters the planet Mercury four times, culminating with an insertion into orbit on 18 March 2011. It carries a comprehensive package of geophysical, geological, geochemical, and space environment experiments to complete the complex investigations of this solar-system end member, which begun with Mariner 10. The articles in this book, written by the experts in each area of the MESSENGER mission, describe the mission, spacecraft, scientific objectives, and payload. The book is of interest to all potential users of the data returned by the MESSENGER mission, to those studying the nature of the planet Mercury, and by all those interested in the design and implementation of planetary exploration missions.

  11. PLANET-PLANET SCATTERING IN PLANETESIMAL DISKS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Raymond, Sean N.; Armitage, Philip J.; Gorelick, Noel

    2009-01-01

    We study the final architecture of planetary systems that evolve under the combined effects of planet-planet and planetesimal scattering. Using N-body simulations we investigate the dynamics of marginally unstable systems of gas and ice giants both in isolation and when the planets form interior to a planetesimal belt. The unstable isolated systems evolve under planet-planet scattering to yield an eccentricity distribution that matches that observed for extrasolar planets. When planetesimals are included the outcome depends upon the total mass of the planets. For M tot ∼> 1 M J the final eccentricity distribution remains broad, whereas for M tot ∼ J a combination of divergent orbital evolution and recircularization of scattered planets results in a preponderance of nearly circular final orbits. We also study the fate of marginally stable multiple planet systems in the presence of planetesimal disks, and find that for high planet masses the majority of such systems evolve into resonance. A significant fraction leads to resonant chains that are planetary analogs of Jupiter's Galilean satellites. We predict that a transition from eccentric to near-circular orbits will be observed once extrasolar planet surveys detect sub-Jovian mass planets at orbital radii of a ≅ 5-10 AU.

  12. MESSENGER'S First and Second Flybys of Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A.

    2009-01-01

    The MESSENGER mission to Mercury offers our first opportunity to explore this planet's miniature magnetosphere since Mariner 10's brief fly-bys in 1974-5. The magnetosphere of Mercury is the smallest in the solar system with its magnetic field typically standing off the solar wind only approximately 1000 km above the surface. An overview of the MESSENGER mission and its January 14th and October 6th, 2008 close flybys of Mercury will be provided. Primary science objectives and the science instrumentation will be described. Initial results from MESSENGER will be discussed with an emphasis on the magnetic field and charged particle measurements.

  13. The Plasma Environment at Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raines, James M.; Gershman, Daniel J.; Zurbuchen, Thomas H.; Gloeckler, George; Slavin, James A.; Anderson, Brian J.; Korth, Haje; Krimigis, Stamatios M.; Killen, Rosemary M.; Sarantos, Menalos; hide

    2011-01-01

    Mercury is the least explored terrestrial planet, and the one subjected to the highest flux of solar radiation in the heliosphere. Its highly dynamic, miniature magnetosphere contains ions from the exosphere and solar wind, and at times may allow solar wind ions to directly impact the planet's surface. Together these features create a plasma environment that shares many features with, but is nonetheless very different from, that of Earth. The first in situ measurements of plasma ions in the Mercury space environment were made only recently, by the Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) during the MESSENGER spacecraft's three flybys of the planet in 2008-2009 as the probe was en route to insertion into orbit about Mercury earlier this year. Here. we present analysis of flyby and early orbital mission data with novel techniques that address the particular challenges inherent in these measurements. First. spacecraft structures and sensor orientation limit the FIPS field of view and allow only partial sampling of velocity distribution functions. We use a software model of FIPS sampling in velocity space to explore these effects and recover bulk parameters under certain assumptions. Second, the low densities found in the Mercury magnetosphere result in a relatively low signal-to-noise ratio for many ions. To address this issue, we apply a kernel density spread function to guide removal of background counts according to a background-signature probability map. We then assign individual counts to particular ion species with a time-of-flight forward model, taking into account energy losses in the carbon foil and other physical behavior of ions within the instrument. Using these methods, we have derived bulk plasma properties and heavy ion composition and evaluated them in the context of the Mercury magnetosphere.

  14. The Giant Planet Satellite Exospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGrath, M. A.

    2014-12-01

    Exospheres are relatively common in the outer solar system among the moons of the gas giant planets. They span the range from very tenuous, surface-bounded exospheres (e.g., Rhea, Dione) to quite robust exospheres with exobase above the surface (e.g., Io, Triton), and include many intermediate cases (e.g., Europa, Ganymede, Enceladus). The exospheres of these moons exhibit an interesting variety of sources, from surface sputtering, to frost sublimation, to active plumes, and also well illustrate another common characteristic of the outer planet satellite exospheres, namely, that the primary species often exists both as a gas in atmosphere, and a condensate (frost or ice) on the surface. As described by Yelle et al. (1995) for Triton, "The interchange of matter between gas and solid phases on these bodies has profound effects on the physical state of the surface and the structure of the atmosphere." A brief overview of the exospheres of the outer planet satellites will be presented, including an inter-comparison of these satellites exospheres with each other, and with the exospheres of the Moon and Mercury.

  15. The Giant Planet Satellite Exospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGrath, Melissa A.

    2014-01-01

    Exospheres are relatively common in the outer solar system among the moons of the gas giant planets. They span the range from very tenuous, surface-bounded exospheres (e.g., Rhea, Dione) to quite robust exospheres with exobase above the surface (e.g., lo, Triton), and include many intermediate cases (e.g., Europa, Ganymede, Enceladus). The exospheres of these moons exhibit an interesting variety of sources, from surface sputtering, to frost sublimation, to active plumes, and also well illustrate another common characteristic of the outer planet satellite exospheres, namely, that the primary species often exists both as a gas in atmosphere, and a condensate (frost or ice) on the surface. As described by Yelle et al. (1995) for Triton, "The interchange of matter between gas and solid phases on these bodies has profound effects on the physical state of the surface and the structure of the atmosphere." A brief overview of the exospheres of the outer planet satellites will be presented, including an inter-comparison of these satellites exospheres with each other, and with the exospheres of the Moon and Mercury.

  16. The intercrater plains of Mercury and the Moon: Their nature, origin and role in terrestrial planet evolution. Estimated thickness of ejecta deposits compared to to crater rim heights. Ph.D. Thesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    The area of the continuous ejecta deposits on mercury was calculated to vary from 2.24 to 0.64 times the crater's area for those of diameter 40 km to 300 km. Because crater boundaries on the geologic map include the detectable continuous ejecta blanket, plains exterior to these deposits must consist of farther-flung ejecta (of that or other craters), or volcanic deposits flooding the intervening areas. Ejecta models are explored.

  17. Mercury's Magnetic Field

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, C. L.

    2014-12-01

    Mercury is the only inner solar system body other than Earth to possess an active core dynamo-driven magnetic field and the only planet with a small, highly dynamic magnetosphere. Measurements made by the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have provided a wealth of data on Mercury's magnetic field environment. Mercury's weak magnetic field was discovered 40 years ago by the Mariner 10 spacecraft, but its large-scale geometry, strength and origin could not be definitively established. MESSENGER data have shown that the field is dynamo-generated and can be described as an offset axisymmetric dipole field (hereafter OAD): the magnetic equator lies ~0.2 RM (RM = 2440 km) north of the geographic equator and the dipole moment is 2.8 x1019 Am2 (~0.03% that of Earth's). The weak internal field and the high, but variable, solar wind ram pressure drive vigorous magnetospheric dynamics and result in an average distance from the planet center to the sub-solar magnetopause of only 1.42 RM. Magnetospheric models developed with MESSENGER data have allowed re-analysis of the Mariner 10 observations, establishing that there has been no measureable secular variation in the internal field over 40 years. Together with spatial power spectra for the OAD, this provides critical constraints for viable dynamo models. Time-varying magnetopause fields induce secondary core fields, the magnitudes of which confirm the core radius estimated from MESSENGER gravity and Earth-based radar data. After accounting for large-scale magnetospheric fields, residual signatures are dominated by additional external fields that are organized in the local time frame and that vary with magnetospheric activity. Birkeland currents have been identified, which likely close in the planetary interior at depths below the base of the crust. Near-periapsis magnetic field measurements at altitudes greater than 200 km have tantalizing hints of crustal fields, but crustal

  18. Return to Mercury: a global perspective on MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, Sean C; McNutt, Ralph L; Watters, Thomas R; Lawrence, David J; Feldman, William C; Head, James W; Krimigis, Stamatios M; Murchie, Scott L; Phillips, Roger J; Slavin, James A; Zuber, Maria T

    2008-07-04

    In January 2008, the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft became the first probe to fly past the planet Mercury in 33 years. The encounter revealed that Mercury is a dynamic system; its liquid iron-rich outer core is coupled through a dominantly dipolar magnetic field to the surface, exosphere, and magnetosphere, all of which interact with the solar wind. MESSENGER images confirm that lobate scarps are the dominant tectonic landform and record global contraction associated with cooling of the planet. The history of contraction can be related to the history of volcanism and cratering, and the total contractional strain is at least one-third greater than inferred from Mariner 10 images. On the basis of measurements of thermal neutrons made during the flyby, the average abundance of iron in Mercury's surface material is less than 6% by weight.

  19. Mercury's Exosphere During MESSENGER's Second Flyby: Detection of Magnesium and Distinct Distributions of Neutral Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClintock, William E.; Vervack, Ronald J., Jr.; Bradley, E. Todd; Killen, Rosemary M.; Mouawad, Nelly; Sprague, Ann L.; Burger, Matthew H.; Solomon, Sean C.; Izenberg, Noam R.

    2009-01-01

    During MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby, the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer observed emission from Mercury's neutral exosphere. These observations include the first detection of emission from magnesium. Differing spatial distributions for sodium, calcium, and magnesium were revealed by observations beginning in Mercury's tail region, approximately 8 Mercury radii anti-sunward of the planet, continuing past the nightside, and ending near the dawn terminator. Analysis of these observations, supplemented by observations during the first Mercury flyby as well as those by other MESSENGER instruments, suggests that the distinct spatial distributions arise from a combination of differences in source, transfer, and loss processes.

  20. Geodesy at Mercury with MESSENGER

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria t.; Peale, Stanley J.; Phillips, Roger J.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2006-01-01

    In 2011 the MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft will enter Mercury orbit and begin the mapping phase of the mission. As part of its science objectives the MESSENGER mission will determine the shape and gravity field of Mercury. These observations will enable the topography and the crustal thickness to be derived for the planet and will determine the small libration of the planet about its axis, the latter critical to constraining the state of the core. These measurements require very precise positioning of the MESSENGER spacecraft in its eccentric orbit, which has a periapsis altitude as low as 200 km, an apoapsis altitude near 15,000 km, and a closest approach to the surface varying from latitude 60 to about 70 N. The X-band tracking of MESSENGER and the laser altimetry are the primary data that will be used to measure the planetary shape and gravity field. The laser altimeter, which has an expected range of 1000 to 1200 km, is expected to provide significant data only over the northern hemisphere because of MESSENGER's eccentric orbit. For the southern hemisphere, radio occultation measurements obtained as the spacecraft passes behind the planet as seen from Earth and images obtained with the imaging system will be used to provide the long-wavelength shape of the planet. Gravity, derived from the tracking data, will also have greater resolution in the northern hemisphere, but full global models for both topography and gravity will be obtained at low harmonic order and degree. The limiting factor for both gravity and topography is expected to be knowledge of the spacecraft location. Present estimations are that in a combined tracking, altimetry, and occultation solution the spacecraft position uncertainty is likely to be of order 10 m. This accuracy should be adequate for establishing an initial geodetic coordinate system for Mercury that will enable positioning of imaged features on the surface, determination of

  1. Mercury and Pregnancy

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Home > Pregnancy > Is it safe? > Mercury and pregnancy Mercury and pregnancy E-mail to a friend Please ... vision problems. How can you be exposed to mercury? Mercury has several forms: It can be a ...

  2. Messenger Observations of Mercury's Bow Shock and Magnetopause

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin J. A.; Acuna, M. H.; Anderson, B. J.; Benna, M.; Gloeckler, G.; Krimigis, S. M.; Raines, M.; Schriver, D.; Travnicek, P.; Zurbuchen, T. H.

    2008-01-01

    The MESSENGER spacecraft made the first of three flybys of Mercury on January 14.2008 (1). New observations of solar wind interaction with Mercury were made with MESSENGER'S Magnetometer (MAG) (2.3) and Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer (EPPS) - composed of the Energetic Particle Spectrometer (EPS) and Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) (3,4). These MESSENGER observations show that Mercury's magnetosphere has a large-scale structure that is distinctly Earth-like, but it is immersed in a comet-like cloud of planetary ions [5]. Fig. 1 provides a schematic view of the coupled solar wind - magnetosphere - neutral atmosphere - solid planet system at Mercury.

  3. Laser altimeter observations from MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuber, Maria T; Smith, David E; Solomon, Sean C; Phillips, Roger J; Peale, Stanton J; Head, James W; Hauck, Steven A; McNutt, Ralph L; Oberst, Jürgen; Neumann, Gregory A; Lemoine, Frank G; Sun, Xiaoli; Barnouin-Jha, Olivier; Harmon, John K

    2008-07-04

    A 3200-kilometers-long profile of Mercury by the Mercury Laser Altimeter on the MESSENGER spacecraft spans approximately 20% of the near-equatorial region of the planet. Topography along the profile is characterized by a 5.2-kilometer dynamic range and 930-meter root-mean-square roughness. At long wavelengths, topography slopes eastward by 0.02 degrees , implying a variation of equatorial shape that is at least partially compensated. Sampled craters on Mercury are shallower than their counterparts on the Moon, at least in part the result of Mercury's higher gravity. Crater floors vary in roughness and slope, implying complex modification over a range of length scales.

  4. A Google Earth Grand Tour of the Terrestrial Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Paor, Declan; Coba, Filis; Burgin, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    Google Earth is a powerful instructional resource for geoscience education. We have extended the virtual globe to include all terrestrial planets. Downloadable Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files (Google Earth's scripting language) associated with this paper include lessons about Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars. We created "grand…

  5. Extrasolar planets: constraints for planet formation models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santos, Nuno C; Benz, Willy; Mayor, Michel

    2005-10-14

    Since 1995, more than 150 extrasolar planets have been discovered, most of them in orbits quite different from those of the giant planets in our own solar system. The number of discovered extrasolar planets demonstrates that planetary systems are common but also that they may possess a large variety of properties. As the number of detections grows, statistical studies of the properties of exoplanets and their host stars can be conducted to unravel some of the key physical and chemical processes leading to the formation of planetary systems.

  6. Sodium Velocity Maps on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Potter, A. E.; Killen, R. M.

    2011-01-01

    The objective of the current work was to measure two-dimensional maps of sodium velocities on the Mercury surface and examine the maps for evidence of sources or sinks of sodium on the surface. The McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope and the Stellar Spectrograph were used to measure Mercury spectra that were sampled at 7 milliAngstrom intervals. Observations were made each day during the period October 5-9, 2010. The dawn terminator was in view during that time. The velocity shift of the centroid of the Mercury emission line was measured relative to the solar sodium Fraunhofer line corrected for radial velocity of the Earth. The difference between the observed and calculated velocity shift was taken to be the velocity vector of the sodium relative to Earth. For each position of the spectrograph slit, a line of velocities across the planet was measured. Then, the spectrograph slit was stepped over the surface of Mercury at 1 arc second intervals. The position of Mercury was stabilized by an adaptive optics system. The collection of lines were assembled into an images of surface reflection, sodium emission intensities, and Earthward velocities over the surface of Mercury. The velocity map shows patches of higher velocity in the southern hemisphere, suggesting the existence of sodium sources there. The peak earthward velocity occurs in the equatorial region, and extends to the terminator. Since this was a dawn terminator, this might be an indication of dawn evaporation of sodium. Leblanc et al. (2008) have published a velocity map that is similar.

  7. A thin, dense crust for Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sori, Michael M.

    2018-05-01

    Crustal thickness is a crucial geophysical parameter in understanding the geology and geochemistry of terrestrial planets. Recent development of mathematical techniques suggests that previous studies based on assumptions of isostasy overestimated crustal thickness on some of the solid bodies of the solar system, leading to a need to revisit those analyses. Here, I apply these techniques to Mercury. Using MESSENGER-derived elemental abundances, I calculate a map of grain density (average 2974 ± 89 kg/m3) which shows that Pratt isostasy is unlikely to be a major compensation mechanism of Mercury's topography. Assuming Airy isostasy, I find the best fit value for Mercury's mean crustal thickness is 26 ± 11 km, 25% lower than the most recently reported and previously thinnest number. Several geological implications follow from this relatively low value for crustal thickness, including showing that the largest impacts very likely excavated mantle material onto Mercury's surface. The new results also show that Mercury and the Moon have a similar proportion of their rocky silicates composing their crusts, and thus Mercury is not uniquely efficient at crustal production amongst terrestrial bodies. Higher resolution topography and gravity data, especially for the southern hemisphere, will be necessary to refine Mercury's crustal parameters further.

  8. Study and validation of a gamma-ray spectrometer for the remote analysis of the chemical composition of planetary surfaces: application to a mission to the planet Mercury; Etude et validation d'un spectrometre gamma pour la mesure de la composition chimique des surfaces planetaires

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pirard, B

    2006-12-15

    This work deals with the design of a gamma-ray spectrometer for the remote analysis of the chemical composition of planetary surfaces and was performed in the frame of a mission scenario to explore the planet Mercury. The research studies consisted first in characterizing the detection performances of a gamma-ray spectrometer using a high-purity germanium crystal cooled actively at cryogenic temperatures. The high energy resolution of the detector allows an accurate measurement of the chemical composition for the main elements from oxygen to uranium. Thereafter the studies dealt with the critical issues addressed for the use of such a detector onboard a mission to the inner solar system. The radiation damage caused by solar protons in germanium crystals was investigated by experimental and numerical means. It has been shown that the detector resolution begins getting damaged for proton fluences over 5*10{sup 8} p/cm{sup 2}. An annealing session where the crystal is heated up to 80 C degrees for a 4-day period allows the detector to get back a sufficient resolution. Annealing over 100 C degrees gives back the detector its initial resolution. Finally, a numerical thermal model of the instrument as well as some tests on a thermal mockup were performed to validate the thermal design of the instrument.

  9. White dwarf planets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bonsor Amy

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available The recognition that planets may survive the late stages of stellar evolution, and the prospects for finding them around White Dwarfs, are growing. We discuss two aspects governing planetary survival through stellar evolution to the White Dwarf stage. First we discuss the case of a single planet, and its survival under the effects of stellar mass loss, radius expansion, and tidal orbital decay as the star evolves along the Asymptotic Giant Branch. We show that, for stars initially of 1 − 5 M⊙, any planets within about 1 − 5 AU will be engulfed, this distance depending on the stellar and planet masses and the planet's eccentricity. Planets engulfed by the star's envelope are unlikely to survive. Hence, planets surviving the Asymptotic Giant Branch phase will probably be found beyond ∼ 2 AU for a 1  M⊙ progenitor and ∼ 10 AU for a 5 M⊙ progenitor. We then discuss the evolution of two-planet systems around evolving stars. As stars lose mass, planet–planet interactions become stronger, and many systems stable on the Main Sequence become destabilised following evolution of the primary. The outcome of such instabilities is typically the ejection of one planet, with the survivor being left on an eccentric orbit. These eccentric planets could in turn be responsible for feeding planetesimals into the neighbourhood of White Dwarfs, causing observed pollution and circumstellar discs.

  10. Multiscale geomorphometric modeling of Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Florinsky, I. V.

    2018-02-01

    Topography is one of the key characteristics of a planetary body. Geomorphometry deals with quantitative modeling and analysis of the topographic surface and relationships between topography and other natural components of landscapes. The surface of Mercury is systematically studied by interpretation of images acquired during the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission. However, the Mercurian surface is still little explored by methods of geomorphometry. In this paper, we evaluate the Mercury MESSENGER Global DEM MSGR_DEM_USG_SC_I_V02 - a global digital elevation model (DEM) of Mercury with the resolution of 0.015625° - as a source for geomorphometric modeling of this planet. The study was performed at three spatial scales: the global, regional (the Caloris basin), and local (the Pantheon Fossae area) ones. As the initial data, we used three DEMs of these areas with resolutions of 0.25°, 0.0625°, and 0.015625°, correspondingly. The DEMs were extracted from the MESSENGER Global DEM. From the DEMs, we derived digital models of several fundamental morphometric variables, such as: slope gradient, horizontal curvature, vertical curvature, minimal curvature, maximal curvature, catchment area, and dispersive area. The morphometric maps obtained represent peculiarities of the Mercurian topography in different ways, according to the physical and mathematical sense of a particular variable. Geomorphometric models are a rich source of information on the Mercurian surface. These data can be utilized to study evolution and internal structure of the planet, for example, to visualize and quantify regional topographic differences as well as to refine geological boundaries.

  11. Questions about Mercury's role in comparative planetary geophysics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, C. R.; Weidenschilling, S. J.; Davis, D. R.; Greenberg, R.; Leake, M. A.

    1985-01-01

    Problems which have arisen in formulating a mutually consistent picture of Mercury's evolution are outlined. It appears that one or more of the following widely adopted assumptions are wrong about Mercury: (1) its original composition at least approximately resulted from equilibrium condensation; (2) its magnetic field arises from a still-active dynamo; (3) its thermal evolution should have yielded early core formation followed by cooling and a global contraction approaching 20 km in the planet's radius; (4) Mercury's surface is basaltic and the intercrater plains are of volcanic origin. It is suggested that Mercury's role in comparative planetology be reevaluated in the context of an alternative timescale based on the possibility that Mercury was subjected to a continuing source of cratering projectiles over recent aeons, which have not impacted the other terrestrial planets. Although such vulcanoids have not yet been discovered, the evolution of Mercury's orbit due to secular perturbations could well have led to a prolonged period of sweeping out any intra-Mercurian planetesimals that were originally present. Mercury's surface could be younger than previously believed, which explains why Mercury's core is still molten.

  12. Mercury Report-Children's exposure to elemental mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... gov . Mercury Background Mercury Report Additional Resources Mercury Report - Children's Exposure to Elemental Mercury Recommend on Facebook ... I limit exposure to mercury? Why was the report written? Children attending a daycare in New Jersey ...

  13. Mercury's Weather-Beaten Surface: Understanding Mercury in the Context of Lunar and Asteroid Space Weathering Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dominque, Deborah L.; Chapman, Clark R.; Killen, Rosemary M.; Zurbuchen, Thomas H.; Gilbert, Jason A.; Sarantos, Menelaos; Benna, Mehdi; Slavin, James A.; Orlando, Thomas M.; Schriver, David; hide

    2011-01-01

    Understanding the composition of Mercury's crust is key to comprehending the formation of the planet. The regolith, derived from the crustal bedrock, has been altered via a set of space weathering processes. These processes are the same set of mechanisms that work to form Mercury's exosphere, and are moderated by the local space environment and the presence of an intrinsic planetary magnetic field. The alterations need to be understood in order to determine the initial crustal compositions. The complex interrelationships between Mercury's exospheric processes, the space environment, and surface composition are examined and reviewed. The processes are examined in the context of our understanding of these same processes on the lunar and asteroid regoliths. Keywords: Mercury (planet) Space weathering Surface processes Exosphere Surface composition Space environment 3

  14. Mapping the Topography of Mercury with MESSENGER Laser Altimetry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Xiaoli; Cavanaugh, John F.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Smith, David E..; Zubor, Maria T.

    2012-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter onboard MESSENGER involves unique design elements that deal with the challenges of being in orbit around Mercury. The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of seven instruments on NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. MESSENGER was launched on 3 August 2004, and entered into orbit about Mercury on 18 March 2011 after a journey through the inner solar system. This involved six planetary flybys, including three of Mercury. MLA is designed to map the topography and landforms of Mercury's surface. It also measures the planet's forced libration (motion about the spin axis), which helps constrain the state of the core. The first science measurements from orbit taken with MLA were made on 29 March 2011 and continue to date. MLA had accumulated about 8.3 million laser ranging measurements to Mercury's surface, as of 31 July 2012, i.e., over six Mercury years (528 Earth days). Although MLA is the third planetary lidar built at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), MLA must endure a much harsher thermal environment near Mercury than the previous instruments on Mars and Earth satellites. The design of MLA was derived in part from that of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter on Mars Global Surveyor. However, MLA must range over greater distances and often in off-nadir directions from a highly eccentric orbit. In MLA we use a single-mode diode-pumped Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) laser that is highly collimated to maintain a small footprint on the planet. The receiver has both a narrow field of view and a narrow spectral bandwidth to minimize the amount of background light detected from the sunlit hemisphere of Mercury. We achieve the highest possible receiver sensitivity by employing the minimum receiver detection threshold.

  15. Large longitude libration of Mercury reveals a molten core.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Margot, J L; Peale, S J; Jurgens, R F; Slade, M A; Holin, I V

    2007-05-04

    Observations of radar speckle patterns tied to the rotation of Mercury establish that the planet occupies a Cassini state with obliquity of 2.11 +/- 0.1 arc minutes. The measurements show that the planet exhibits librations in longitude that are forced at the 88-day orbital period, as predicted by theory. The large amplitude of the oscillations, 35.8 +/- 2 arc seconds, together with the Mariner 10 determination of the gravitational harmonic coefficient C22, indicates that the mantle of Mercury is decoupled from a core that is at least partially molten.

  16. Celestial mechanics of planet shells

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barkin, Yu V.; Vilke, V. G.

    2004-06-01

    scales. Here we have almost some machine of transformation of mechanical energy of translatory-rotary motions of the shells to elastic energy of deformation of the intermediate layer. Owing to the inelastic (dissipative) properties of this layer, part of elastic energy will become warm energy. This fundamental process has a cyclic character so the variations in the mechanical energy of translational and rotational motions of the shells are cyclic. The rhythms and types of relative wobble of the shells define periodic variations and transformations of mechanical, elastic and warm energies on different time scales. These fundamental positions maintain a constant value in the particular problem considered about the dynamics of the Earth’s shell and core-mantle dynamics of resonant objects: the Moon and Mercury.The cyclic accumulation of elastic energy and warm energy of intermediate layer (between the core and mantle) in realized owing to the action of the inner moments and forces between shells. A considerable part of this energy transforms to the energy of numerous dynamic and physical processes on the planet. It is the mechanism of energization of the planet that defines its endogenous activity (Barkin, 2002a,b).In a number of studies (see for example Barkin (1999, 2002a,b) and Ferrandiz and Barkin (2003)), celestial bodies are studied as objects with a complex structure (elastic, liquid or gaseous core, with shells). The dynamics of such objects in a gravitational field are described by a system of integrodifferential equations in ordinary and partial derivatives (Vilke, 1997a,b) for which research is difficult. At the same time, the complex structure of planets can appear as one of the factors determining the course of dynamic processes (the rotation of a planet around the centre of mass, tidal phenomena, orbit evolution, and tectonic processes as a consequence of relative displacement of parts of a planet) (Barkin, 2002b).In this article the two-layer model of a

  17. Investigation of the interior of Mercury through the study of its gravity, topography, and tidal response

    OpenAIRE

    Padovan, Sebastiano

    2014-01-01

    With the goal of furthering our understanding of the interior structure of Mercury, this work tries to answer the following two questions. What can the response of the planet to solar tides reveal about the interior structure? What is the thickness of the crust and what are the implications for the interior?By comparing the models developed here for the tidal response of Mercury with the response measured by the MErcury Surface Space ENvironment GEochemistry and Ranging spacecraft (MESSENGER)...

  18. Relative locations of the bow shocks of the terrestrial planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Russell, C.T.

    1977-01-01

    The observed bow shock encounters at Mercury, Venus and Mars are least square fit using the same technique so that their sizes and shapes can be intercompared. The shock front of Mercury most resembles the terrestrial shock in shape, and the shock stand off distance is consistent with the observed moment. The shapes of the Venus and Mars shock fronts more resemble each other than the earth's and the stand off distances are consistent with direct interaction of the solar wind with the ionosphere on the dayside. The Venus shock is closer to the planet than the Mars shock suggesting more absorption of the solar wind at Venus

  19. Magnesium-rich Basalts on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martel, L. M. V.

    2013-05-01

    X-ray and gamma-ray spectrometers on NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft are making key measurements regarding the composition and properties of the surface of Mercury, allowing researchers to more clearly decipher the planet's formation and geologic history. The origin of the igneous rocks in the crust of Mercury is the focus of recent research by Karen Stockstill-Cahill and Tim McCoy (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution), along with Larry Nittler and Shoshana Weider (Carnegie Institution of Washington) and Steven Hauck II (Case Western Reserve University). Using the well-known MELTS computer code Stockstill-Cahill and coauthors worked with MESSENGER-derived and rock-analog compositions to constrain petrologic models of the lavas that erupted on the surface of Mercury. Rock analogs included a partial melt of the Indarch meteorite and a range of Mg-rich terrestrial rocks. Their work shows the lavas on Mercury are most similar to terrestrial magnesian basalt (with lowered FeO content). The implications of the modeling are that Mg-rich lavas came from high-temperature sources in Mercury's mantle and erupted at high temperature with exceptionally low viscosity into thinly bedded and laterally extensive flows, concepts open to further evaluation by laboratory experiments and by geologic mapping of Mercury's surface using MESSENGER's imaging system and laser altimeter to document flow features and dimensions.

  20. Mercury's Seasonal Sodium Exosphere: MESSENGER Orbital Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cassidy, Timothy A.; Merkel, Aimee W.; Burger, Matthew H.; Killen, Rosemary M.; McClintock, William E.; Vervack, Ronald J., Jr.; Sarantos, Menelaos

    2014-01-01

    The Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) Ultraviolet and Visible Spectrometer (UVVS) on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft now orbiting Mercury provides the first close-up look at the planet's sodium exosphere. UVVS has observed the exosphere from orbit almost daily for over 10 Mercury years. In this paper we describe and analyze a subset of these data: altitude profiles taken above the low-latitude dayside and south pole. The observations show spatial and temporal variations, but there are no obvious year-to-year variations in most of the observations. We do not see the episodic variability reported by some ground-based observers. We used these altitude profiles to make estimates of sodium density and temperature. The bulk of the exosphere, at about 1200 K, is much warmer than Mercury's surface. This value is consistent with some ground-based measurements and suggests that photon-stimulated desorption is the primary ejection process. We also observe a tenuous energetic component but do not see evidence of the predicted thermalized (or partially thermalized) sodium near Mercury's surface temperature. Overall we do not see the variable mixture of temperatures predicted by most Monte Carlo models of the exosphere.

  1. Environmental mercury problem

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    D' Itri, F.M.

    1972-01-01

    The urgent need to eliminate or greatly reduce the discharge of mercury into the environment is paramount to the health and well being of man. That all forms of mercury are hazardous is widely recognized, but what is more devastating to our society is that all forms of mercury appear to have the potential to be converted in to highly toxic monomethylmercury, or dimethylmercury. This paper examined the historical uses of mercury, the background concentrations of mercury, the analytical methods for the determination of mercury, the contamination of the food chain by mercury, the biological methylation of mercury, the decontamination and restoration of mercury polluted areas, the epidemiology and toxicology of mercury, and the chronology of the world's mercury poisoning problem.

  2. Candidate constructional volcanic edifices on Mercury

    OpenAIRE

    Wright, J.; Rothery, D. A.; Balme, M. R.; Conway, S. J.

    2018-01-01

    [Introduction] Studies using MESSENGER data suggest that Mercury’s crust is predominantly a product of effusive volcanism that occurred in the first billion years following the planet’s formation. Despite this planet-wide effusive volcanism, no constructional volcanic edifices, characterized by a topographic rise, have hitherto been robustly identified on Mercury, whereas constructional volcanoes are common on other planetary bodies in the solar system with volcanic histories. Here, we descri...

  3. Gravity field and internal structure of Mercury from MESSENGER.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, David E; Zuber, Maria T; Phillips, Roger J; Solomon, Sean C; Hauck, Steven A; Lemoine, Frank G; Mazarico, Erwan; Neumann, Gregory A; Peale, Stanton J; Margot, Jean-Luc; Johnson, Catherine L; Torrence, Mark H; Perry, Mark E; Rowlands, David D; Goossens, Sander; Head, James W; Taylor, Anthony H

    2012-04-13

    Radio tracking of the MESSENGER spacecraft has provided a model of Mercury's gravity field. In the northern hemisphere, several large gravity anomalies, including candidate mass concentrations (mascons), exceed 100 milli-Galileos (mgal). Mercury's northern hemisphere crust is thicker at low latitudes and thinner in the polar region and shows evidence for thinning beneath some impact basins. The low-degree gravity field, combined with planetary spin parameters, yields the moment of inertia C/MR(2) = 0.353 ± 0.017, where M and R are Mercury's mass and radius, and a ratio of the moment of inertia of Mercury's solid outer shell to that of the planet of C(m)/C = 0.452 ± 0.035. A model for Mercury's radial density distribution consistent with these results includes a solid silicate crust and mantle overlying a solid iron-sulfide layer and an iron-rich liquid outer core and perhaps a solid inner core.

  4. Distribution, Statistics, and Resurfacing of Large Impact Basins on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fassett, Caleb I.; Head, James W.; Baker, David M. H.; Chapman, Clark R.; Murchie, Scott L.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Oberst, Juergen; Prockter, Louise M.; Smith, David E.; Solomon, Sean C.; hide

    2012-01-01

    The distribution and geological history of large impact basins (diameter D greater than or equal to 300 km) on Mercury is important to understanding the planet's stratigraphy and surface evolution. It is also informative to compare the density of impact basins on Mercury with that of the Moon to understand similarities and differences in their impact crater and basin populations [1, 2]. A variety of impact basins were proposed on the basis of geological mapping with Mariner 10 data [e.g. 3]. This basin population can now be re-assessed and extended to the full planet, using data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. Note that small-to- medium-sized peak-ring basins on Mercury are being examined separately [4, 5]; only the three largest peak-ring basins on Mercury overlap with the size range we consider here. In this study, we (1) re-examine the large basins suggested on the basis of Mariner 10 data, (2) suggest additional basins from MESSENGER's global coverage of Mercury, (3) assess the size-frequency distribution of mercurian basins on the basis of these global observations and compare it to the Moon, and (4) analyze the implications of these observations for the modification history of basins on Mercury.

  5. Mercury's global evolution: New views from MESSENGER

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauck, S. A., II; Byrne, P. K.; Denevi, B. W.; Grott, M.; McCoy, T.; Stanley, S.

    2015-12-01

    MESSENGER's exploration of Mercury has revealed the planet's rich and dynamic history and provided new constraints on the processes that control its internal evolution. Mercury's surface records evidence of an extensive geological history. This evidence includes resurfacing by impacts and volcanism prior to the end of the late heavy bombardment (LHB) and a subsequent rapid waning of effusive volcanism. Volcanism is an important indicator of the history of melt production. Thousands of globally distributed, contractional tectonic landforms collectively have accommodated a decrease in Mercury's radius of 5-7 km since the end of the LHB. Such contraction results from planetary cooling and crystallization within Mercury's metallic core. Measurements of surface chemistry have provided constraints on internal radiogenic heat production necessary to understand more fully Mercury's thermal evolution. Elemental abundances also reveal that Mercury is strongly chemically reduced, suggesting that the core's iron is alloyed with silicon as well as sulfur, which constrains the dynamics and crystallization of the metallic core. Magnetometer observations show that Mercury's dynamo-generated, dominantly dipolar field is displaced ~500 km northward along the rotation axis. Low-altitude magnetic field observations late in the mission led to the discovery of crustal magnetization in Mercury's ancient crust, dating to at least 3.7 Ga, which places a new constraint on the timing of the dynamo. Monte Carlo parameterized mantle convection models, constrained by these observations, indicate that for global contraction of 7 km or less, mantle convection persists to the present ~40% of the time, with the likelihood of modern convection decreasing with less global contraction. Slow present cooling in these models indicates that dynamo generation is strongly influenced by both a static layer at the top of the core and convective motions within the core driven by compositional buoyancy.

  6. Mercury contamination extraction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuhrmann, Mark [Silver Spring, MD; Heiser, John [Bayport, NY; Kalb, Paul [Wading River, NY

    2009-09-15

    Mercury is removed from contaminated waste by firstly applying a sulfur reagent to the waste. Mercury in the waste is then permitted to migrate to the reagent and is stabilized in a mercury sulfide compound. The stable compound may then be removed from the waste which itself remains in situ following mercury removal therefrom.

  7. The hottest planet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrington, Joseph; Luszcz, Statia; Seager, Sara; Deming, Drake; Richardson, L Jeremy

    2007-06-07

    Of the over 200 known extrasolar planets, just 14 pass in front of and behind their parent stars as seen from Earth. This fortuitous geometry allows direct determination of many planetary properties. Previous reports of planetary thermal emission give fluxes that are roughly consistent with predictions based on thermal equilibrium with the planets' received radiation, assuming a Bond albedo of approximately 0.3. Here we report direct detection of thermal emission from the smallest known transiting planet, HD 149026b, that indicates a brightness temperature (an expression of flux) of 2,300 +/- 200 K at 8 microm. The planet's predicted temperature for uniform, spherical, blackbody emission and zero albedo (unprecedented for planets) is 1,741 K. As models with non-zero albedo are cooler, this essentially eliminates uniform blackbody models, and may also require an albedo lower than any measured for a planet, very strong 8 microm emission, strong temporal variability, or a heat source other than stellar radiation. On the other hand, an instantaneous re-emission blackbody model, in which each patch of surface area instantly re-emits all received light, matches the data. This planet is known to be enriched in heavy elements, which may give rise to novel atmospheric properties yet to be investigated.

  8. Planets a very short introduction

    CERN Document Server

    Rothery, David A

    2010-01-01

    Planets: A Very Short Introduction demonstrates the excitement, uncertainties, and challenges faced by planetary scientists, and provides an overview of our Solar System and its origins, nature, and evolution. Terrestrial planets, giant planets, dwarf planets and various other objects such as satellites (moons), asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects, and exoplanets are discussed. Our knowledge about planets has advanced over the centuries, and has expanded at a rapidly growing rate in recent years. Controversial issues are outlined, such as What qualifies as a planet? What conditions are required for a planetary body to be potentially inhabited by life? Why does Pluto no longer have planet status? And Is there life on other planets?

  9. The planets and life.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, R. S.

    1971-01-01

    It is pointed out that planetary exploration is not simply a program designed to detect life on another planet. A planet similar to earth, such as Mars, when studied for evidence as to why life did not arise, may turn out to be scientifically more important than a planet which has already produced a living system. Of particular interest after Mars are Venus and Jupiter. Jupiter has a primitive atmosphere which may well be synthesizing organic molecules today. Speculations have been made concerning the possibility of a bio-zone in the upper atmosphere of Venus.

  10. Energetic Particles Dynamics in Mercury's Magnetosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, Brian M.; Ryou, A.S.; Sibeck, D. G.; Alexeev, I. I.

    2013-01-01

    We investigate the drift paths of energetic particles in Mercury's magnetosphere by tracing their motion through a model magnetic field. Test particle simulations solving the full Lorentz force show a quasi-trapped energetic particle population that gradient and curvature drift around the planet via "Shabansky" orbits, passing though high latitudes in the compressed dayside by equatorial latitudes on the nightside. Due to their large gyroradii, energetic H+ and Na+ ions will typically collide with the planet or the magnetopause and will not be able to complete a full drift orbit. These simulations provide direct comparison for recent spacecraft measurements from MESSENGER. Mercury's offset dipole results in an asymmetric loss cone and therefore an asymmetry in particle precipitation with more particles precipitating in the southern hemisphere. Since the planet lacks an atmosphere, precipitating particles will collide directly with the surface of the planet. The incident charged particles can kick up neutrals from the surface and have implications for the formation of the exosphere and weathering of the surface

  11. Origins of Eccentric Extrasolar Planets: Testing the Planet-Planet Scattering Model

    OpenAIRE

    Ford, Eric B.; Rasio, Frederic A.

    2007-01-01

    (Abridged) In planetary systems with two or more giant planets, dynamical instabilities can lead to collisions or ejections through strong planet--planet scattering. Previous studies for simple initial configurations with two equal-mass planets revealed some discrepancies between the results of numerical simulations and the observed orbital elements of extrasolar planets. Here, we show that simulations with two unequal mass planets starting on nearly circular orbits predict a reduced frequenc...

  12. Mercury Quick Facts: Health Effects of Mercury Exposure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercury Quick Facts Health Effects of Mercury Exposure What is Elemental Mercury? Elemental (metallic) mercury is the shiny, silver-gray metal found in thermometers, barometers, and thermostats and other ...

  13. BINARY MINOR PLANETS

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, compiled from the...

  14. Planets for Man

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Dole, Stephen; Asimov, Isaac

    2007-01-01

    "Planets for Man" was written at the height of the space race, a few years before the first moon landing, when it was assumed that in the not-too-distant future human beings "will be able to travel...

  15. Planets Around Neutron Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolszczan, Alexander; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R; Anderson, Stuart B.

    2003-01-01

    The objective of this proposal was to continue investigations of neutron star planetary systems in an effort to describe and understand their origin, orbital dynamics, basic physical properties and their relationship to planets around normal stars. This research represents an important element of the process of constraining the physics of planet formation around various types of stars. The research goals of this project included long-term timing measurements of the planets pulsar, PSR B1257+12, to search for more planets around it and to study the dynamics of the whole system, and sensitive searches for millisecond pulsars to detect further examples of old, rapidly spinning neutron stars with planetary systems. The instrumentation used in our project included the 305-m Arecibo antenna with the Penn State Pulsar Machine (PSPM), the 100-m Green Bank Telescope with the Berkeley- Caltech Pulsar Machine (BCPM), and the 100-m Effelsberg and 64-m Parkes telescopes equipped with the observatory supplied backend hardware.

  16. Students Discover Unique Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-12-01

    Three undergraduate students, from Leiden University in the Netherlands, have discovered an extrasolar planet. The extraordinary find, which turned up during their research project, is about five times as massive as Jupiter. This is also the first planet discovered orbiting a fast-rotating hot star. Omega Centauri ESO PR Photo 45a/08 A planet around a hot star The students were testing a method of investigating the light fluctuations of thousands of stars in the OGLE database in an automated way. The brightness of one of the stars was found to decrease for two hours every 2.5 days by about one percent. Follow-up observations, taken with ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile, confirmed that this phenomenon is caused by a planet passing in front of the star, blocking part of the starlight at regular intervals. According to Ignas Snellen, supervisor of the research project, the discovery was a complete surprise. "The project was actually meant to teach the students how to develop search algorithms. But they did so well that there was time to test their algorithm on a so far unexplored database. At some point they came into my office and showed me this light curve. I was completely taken aback!" The students, Meta de Hoon, Remco van der Burg, and Francis Vuijsje, are very enthusiastic. "It is exciting not just to find a planet, but to find one as unusual as this one; it turns out to be the first planet discovered around a fast rotating star, and it's also the hottest star found with a planet," says Meta. "The computer needed more than a thousand hours to do all the calculations," continues Remco. The planet is given the prosaic name OGLE2-TR-L9b. "But amongst ourselves we call it ReMeFra-1, after Remco, Meta, and myself," says Francis. The planet was discovered by looking at the brightness variations of about 15 700 stars, which had been observed by the OGLE survey once or twice per night for about four years between 1997 and 2000. Because the data had been made public

  17. Mercury's interior, surface, and surrounding environment latest discoveries

    CERN Document Server

    Clark, Pamela Elizabeth

    2015-01-01

    This SpringerBrief details the MESSENGER Mission, the findings of which present challenges to widely held conventional views and remaining mysteries surrounding the planet. The work answers the question of why Mercury is so dense, and the implications from geochemical data on its planetary formation. It summarizes imaging and compositional data from the terrestrial planet surface processes and explains the geologic history of Mercury.  It also discusses the lack of southern hemisphere coverage. Our understanding of the planet Mercury has been in a transitional phase over the decades since Mariner 10. The influx of new data from the NASA MESSENGER Mission since it was inserted into the orbit of Mercury in March of 2011 has greatly accelerated that shift. The combined compositional data of relatively high volatiles (S, K), relatively low refractories (Al, Ca), and low crustal iron, combined with an active, partially molten iron rich core, has major implications for Mercury and Solar System formation. From a s...

  18. WFIRST: The Exoplanet Microlensing Survey Tells Us Where We Can Find the Cool Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, David; Gaudi, B. Scott; WFIRST Microlensing Science Investigation Team

    2018-01-01

    The WFIRST Exoplanet microlensing survey will complete a demographic survey of all types of planets ranging from ~0.5 AU to planets that have become unbound from the stellar systems of their birth. WFIRST's sensitivity extends down below the mass of Mars (or 0.1 Earth masses,and it is sensitive to analogs of all the planets in the Solar System, except for Mercury. When combined with Kepler's statistical census of hot and warm planets in short period orbits, WFIRST's exoplanet microlensing survey will give us a complete picture the mass and separation distribution of all types of planets. The current plans for this survey are presented, and recent developments relating to the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey will be presented, including recent ground-based microlensing results that challenge current theories of planet formation. Opportunities for community involvement in the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey will be mentioned.

  19. MESSENGER at Mercury: Early Orbital Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNutt, Ralph L., Jr; Solomon, Sean C.; Bedini, Peter D.; Anderson, Brian J.; Blewett, David T.; Evans, Larry G.; Gold, Robert E.; Krimigis, Stamatios M.; Murchie, Scott L.; Nittler, Larry R.; hide

    2013-01-01

    The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, launched in August 2004 under NASA's Discovery Program, was inserted into orbit about the planet Mercury in March 2011. MESSENGER's three flybys of Mercury in 2008-2009 marked the first spacecraft visits to the innermost planet since the Mariner 10 flybys in 1974-1975. The unprecedented orbital operations are yielding new insights into the nature and evolution of Mercury. The scientific questions that frame the MESSENGER mission led to the mission measurement objectives to be achieved by the seven payload instruments and the radio science experiment. Interweaving the full set of required orbital observations in a manner that maximizes the opportunity to satisfy all mission objectives and yet meet stringent spacecraft pointing and thermal constraints was a complex optimization problem that was solved with a software tool that simulates science observations and tracks progress toward meeting each objective. The final orbital observation plan, the outcome of that optimization process, meets all mission objectives. MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System is acquiring a global monochromatic image mosaic at better than 90% coverage and at least 250 m average resolution, a global color image mosaic at better than 90% coverage and at least 1 km average resolution, and global stereo imaging at better than 80% coverage and at least 250 m average resolution. Higher-resolution images are also being acquired of targeted areas. The elemental remote sensing instruments, including the Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer and the X-Ray Spectrometer, are being operated nearly continuously and will establish the average surface abundances of most major elements. The Visible and Infrared Spectrograph channel of MESSENGER's Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer is acquiring a global map of spectral reflectance from 300 to 1450 nm wavelength at a range of incidence and emission

  20. Compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser for the MESSENGER mission to Mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krebs, Danny J; Novo-Gradac, Anne-Marie; Li, Steven X; Lindauer, Steven J; Afzal, Robert S; Yu, Anthony W

    2005-03-20

    A compact, passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser has been developed for the Mercury Laser Altimeter, an instrument on the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging mission to the planet Mercury. The laser achieves 5.4% efficiency with a near-diffraction-limited beam. It passed all space-flight environmental tests at subsystem, instrument, and satellite integration testing and successfully completes a postlaunch aliveness check en route to Mercury. The laser design draws on a heritage of previous laser altimetry missions, specifically the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite and the Mars Global Surveyor, but incorporates thermal management features unique to the requirements of an orbit of the planet Mercury.

  1. MESSENGER observations of magnetic reconnection in Mercury's magnetosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A; Acuña, Mario H; Anderson, Brian J; Baker, Daniel N; Benna, Mehdi; Boardsen, Scott A; Gloeckler, George; Gold, Robert E; Ho, George C; Korth, Haje; Krimigis, Stamatios M; McNutt, Ralph L; Raines, Jim M; Sarantos, Menelaos; Schriver, David; Solomon, Sean C; Trávnícek, Pavel; Zurbuchen, Thomas H

    2009-05-01

    Solar wind energy transfer to planetary magnetospheres and ionospheres is controlled by magnetic reconnection, a process that determines the degree of connectivity between the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) and a planet's magnetic field. During MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury, a steady southward IMF was observed and the magnetopause was threaded by a strong magnetic field, indicating a reconnection rate ~10 times that typical at Earth. Moreover, a large flux transfer event was observed in the magnetosheath, and a plasmoid and multiple traveling compression regions were observed in Mercury's magnetotail, all products of reconnection. These observations indicate that Mercury's magnetosphere is much more responsive to IMF direction and dominated by the effects of reconnection than that of Earth or the other magnetized planets.

  2. Mantle differentiation and thermal evolution of Mars, Mercury, and Venus

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spohn, T.

    1991-01-01

    In the present models for the thermal evolution of Mercury, Venus, and Mars encompass core and mantle chemical differentiation, lithospheric growth, and volcanic heat-transfer processes. Calculation results indicate that crust and lithosphere thicknesses are primarily dependent on planet size as well as the bulk concentration of planetary radiogenic elements and the lithosphere's thermal conductivity. The evidence for Martian volcanism for at least 3.5 Gyr, and in Mercury for up to 1 Gyr, in conjunction with the presence of a magnetic field on Mercury and its absence on Mars, suggest the dominance of a lithospheric conduction heat-transfer mechanism in these planets for most of their thermal history; by contrast, volcanic heat piping may have been an important heat-transfer mechanism on Venus. 50 refs

  3. The Mercury Laser Altimeter Instrument for the MESSENGER Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Sun, Xiaoli; Bartels, Arlin E.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Krebs, Danny J.; Novo-Gradac, Anne marie; McGarry, Jan F.; Trunzo, Raymond; Britt, Jamie L.

    2006-01-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of the payload science instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, which launched on 3 August 2004. The altimeter will measure the round trip time-of-flight of transmitted laser pulses reflected from the surface of the planet that, in combination with the spacecraft orbit position and pointing data, gives a high-precision measurement of surface topography referenced to Mercury's center of mass. The altimeter measurements will be used to determine the planet's forced librations by tracking the motion of large-scale topographic features as a function of time. MLA's laser pulse energy monitor and the echo pulse energy estimate will provide an active measurement of the surface reflectivity at 1064 nm. This paper describes the instrument design, prelaunch testing, calibration, and results of post-launch testing.

  4. Elevated mercury concentrations in humans of Madre de Dios, Peru.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ashe, Katy

    2012-01-01

    The enormous increase in practically unregulated mining in Madre de Dios Peru is leading to massive release of liquid elemental mercury to the environment. Rapidly increasing global prices for gold are causing a massive upsurge in artisanal mining in the Peruvian Amazon, considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. This study identifies the current levels of mercury in the human population, through identifying levels of total mercury in human hair in mining zones of Madre de Dios Department and in the nearby city of Puerto Maldonado. A regression analysis reveals that fish consumption, gender, and location of residence were significant indicators of mercury levels; while duration of residence and age had no significant relationship to mercury levels. Increased fish consumption levels were the strongest indicators of increased total mercury levels across the entire population. The levels of total mercury in hair was significantly (α = 0.05) higher in mining zones, than Puerto Maldonado. In both areas men had significantly higher levels than women, likely due to a difference in metabolism or varying levels of direct involvement in gold mining- a male predominated industry. This is the first study to show the health threat that mercury poses to this region, however further research needs to be done to gain a more refined understanding of the predominant routes of exposure in this population.

  5. Elevated mercury concentrations in humans of Madre de Dios, Peru.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katy Ashe

    Full Text Available The enormous increase in practically unregulated mining in Madre de Dios Peru is leading to massive release of liquid elemental mercury to the environment. Rapidly increasing global prices for gold are causing a massive upsurge in artisanal mining in the Peruvian Amazon, considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. This study identifies the current levels of mercury in the human population, through identifying levels of total mercury in human hair in mining zones of Madre de Dios Department and in the nearby city of Puerto Maldonado. A regression analysis reveals that fish consumption, gender, and location of residence were significant indicators of mercury levels; while duration of residence and age had no significant relationship to mercury levels. Increased fish consumption levels were the strongest indicators of increased total mercury levels across the entire population. The levels of total mercury in hair was significantly (α = 0.05 higher in mining zones, than Puerto Maldonado. In both areas men had significantly higher levels than women, likely due to a difference in metabolism or varying levels of direct involvement in gold mining- a male predominated industry. This is the first study to show the health threat that mercury poses to this region, however further research needs to be done to gain a more refined understanding of the predominant routes of exposure in this population.

  6. Making Mercury's Core with Light Elements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E.; McCubbin, Francis M.; Ross, D. Kent

    2016-01-01

    Recent results obtained from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft showed the surface of Mercury has low FeO abundances (less than 2 wt%) and high S abundances (approximately 4 wt%), suggesting the oxygen fugacity of Mercury's surface materials is somewhere between 3 to 7 log10 units below the IW buffer. The highly reducing nature of Mercury has resulted in a relatively thin mantle and a large core that has the potential to exhibit an exotic composition in comparison to the other terrestrial planets. This exotic composition may extend to include light elements (e.g., Si, C, S). Furthermore, has argued for a possible primary floatation crust on Mercury composed of graphite, which may require a core that is C-saturated. In order to investigate mercurian core compositions, we conducted piston cylinder experiments at 1 GPa, from 1300 C to 1700 C, using a range of starting compositions consisting of various Si-Fe metal mixtures (Si5Fe95, Si10Fe90, Si22Fe78, and Si35Fe65). All metals were loaded into graphite capsules used to ensure C-saturation during the duration of each experimental run. Our experiments show that Fe-Si metallic alloys exclude carbon relative to more Fe-rich metal. This exclusion of carbon commences within the range of 5 to 10 wt% Si. These results indicate that if Mercury has a Si-rich core (having more than approximately 5 wt% silicon), it would have saturated in carbon at low C abundances allowing for the possible formation of a graphite floatation crust as suggested by. These results have important implications for the thermal and magmatic evolution of Mercury.

  7. Mercury's global contraction much greater than earlier estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byrne, Paul K.; Klimczak, Christian; Celâl Şengör, A. M.; Solomon, Sean C.; Watters, Thomas R.; Hauck, Steven A., II

    2014-04-01

    Mercury, a planet with a lithosphere that forms a single tectonic plate, is replete with tectonic structures interpreted to be the result of planetary cooling and contraction. However, the amount of global contraction inferred from spacecraft images has been far lower than that predicted by models of the thermal evolution of the planet's interior. Here we present a synthesis of the global contraction of Mercury from orbital observations acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft. We show that Mercury's global contraction has been accommodated by a substantially greater number and variety of structures than previously recognized, including long belts of ridges and scarps where the crust has been folded and faulted. The tectonic features on Mercury are consistent with models for large-scale deformation proposed for a globally contracting Earth--now obsolete--that pre-date plate tectonics theory. We find that Mercury has contracted radially by as much as 7 km, well in excess of the 0.8-3 km previously reported from photogeology and resolving the discrepancy with thermal models. Our findings provide a key constraint for studies of Mercury's thermal history, bulk silicate abundances of heat-producing elements, mantle convection and the structure of its large metallic core.

  8. Protostars and Planets VI

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beuther, Henrik; Klessen, Ralf S.; Dullemond, Cornelis P.; Henning, Thomas

    The Protostars and Planets book and conference series has been a long-standing tradition that commenced with the first meeting led by Tom Gehrels and held in Tucson, Arizona, in 1978. The goal then, as it still is today, was to bridge the gap between the fields of star and planet formation as well as the investigation of planetary systems and planets. As Tom Gehrels stated in the preface to the first Protostars and Planets book, "Cross-fertilization of information and understanding is bound to occur when investigators who are familiar with the stellar and interstellar phases meet with those who study the early phases of solar system formation." The central goal remained the same for the subsequent editions of the books and conferences Protostars and Planets II in 1984, Protostars and Planets III in 1990, Protostars and Planets IV in 1998, and Protostars and Planets V in 2005, but has now been greatly expanded by the flood of new discoveries in the field of exoplanet science. The original concept of the Protostars and Planets series also formed the basis for the sixth conference in the series, which took place on July 15-20, 2013. It was held for the first time outside of the United States in the bustling university town of Heidelberg, Germany. The meeting attracted 852 participants from 32 countries, and was centered around 38 review talks and more than 600 posters. The review talks were expanded to form the 38 chapters of this book, written by a total of 250 contributing authors. This Protostars and Planets volume reflects the current state-of-the-art in star and planet formation, and tightly connects the fields with each other. It is structured into four sections covering key aspects of molecular cloud and star formation, disk formation and evolution, planetary systems, and astrophysical conditions for life. All poster presentations from the conference can be found at www.ppvi.org. In the eight years that have passed since the fifth conference and book in the

  9. The physical characteristics of surface Earth-like planets, dwarf and small (asteroids) planets, and their companions, according to distance studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidmachenko, A. P.; Morozhenko, O. V.

    2014-01-01

    The history of exploration and cosmogony of Solar System bodies, the current state of the planetary cosmogony, the process of formation planets and their satellites; the features of the internal structure of terrestrial planets and of the Moon, magnetic fields of the terrestrial planets, satellites and asteroids; the general question of forming of diffusely reflected radiation of rough surfaces, lighting conditions, the parameters of reflected radiation fields (photometric, polarization and thermal properties), radar observations was considered. Given the main results of the study of the Moon, Earth-like planets (Mars, Mercury, Venus) dwarf and small (asteroids) planets Publication is targeted for teachers of higher educational institutions, students and graduate students and specialists who specialize in the study of physical methods, experimental physics and solar system bodies

  10. Reorientation Histories of Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keane, J. T.; Matsuyama, I.

    2017-09-01

    The spins of planets are not constant with time. Impacts, volcanos, and other large geologic features can reorient planets (a process known as true polar wander). True polar wander can have important implications for the climate, volatiles, and tectonics of planets and moons. However, despite its importance, it has been difficult to study true polar wander for objects beyond the Earth. Here we present the results of the first comprehensive, data-driven investigation into the true polar wander histories of Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars. We find that Mercury and the Moon have both reoriented in response to large impacts, while the spins of Mars and Venus are more strongly affected by volcanism. Venus, in particular, has been subject to some very dramatic episodes of true polar wander in the past.

  11. The MESSENGER mission to Mercury: scientific objectives and implementation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, Sean C.; McNutt, Ralph L.; Gold, Robert E.; Acuña, Mario H.; Baker, Daniel N.; Boynton, William V.; Chapman, Clark R.; Cheng, Andrew F.; Gloeckler, George; Head, James W., III; Krimigis, Stamatios M.; McClintock, William E.; Murchie, Scott L.; Peale, Stanton J.; Phillips, Roger J.; Robinson, Mark S.; Slavin, James A.; Smith, David E.; Strom, Robert G.; Trombka, Jacob I.; Zuber, Maria T.

    2001-12-01

    Mercury holds answers to several critical questions regarding the formation and evolution of the terrestrial planets. These questions include the origin of Mercury's anomalously high ratio of metal to silicate and its implications for planetary accretion processes, the nature of Mercury's geological evolution and interior cooling history, the mechanism of global magnetic field generation, the state of Mercury's core, and the processes controlling volatile species in Mercury's polar deposits, exosphere, and magnetosphere. The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission has been designed to fly by and orbit Mercury to address all of these key questions. After launch by a Delta 2925H-9.5, two flybys of Venus, and two flybys of Mercury, orbit insertion is accomplished at the third Mercury encounter. The instrument payload includes a dual imaging system for wide and narrow fields-of-view, monochrome and color imaging, and stereo; X-ray and combined gamma-ray and neutron spectrometers for surface chemical mapping; a magnetometer; a laser altimeter; a combined ultraviolet-visible and visible-near-infrared spectrometer to survey both exospheric species and surface mineralogy; and an energetic particle and plasma spectrometer to sample charged species in the magnetosphere. During the flybys of Mercury, regions unexplored by Mariner 10 will be seen for the first time, and new data will be gathered on Mercury's exosphere, magnetosphere, and surface composition. During the orbital phase of the mission, one Earth year in duration, MESSENGER will complete global mapping and the detailed characterization of the exosphere, magnetosphere, surface, and interior.

  12. Extrasolar binary planets. I. Formation by tidal capture during planet-planet scattering

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ochiai, H.; Nagasawa, M.; Ida, S.

    2014-01-01

    We have investigated (1) the formation of gravitationally bounded pairs of gas-giant planets (which we call 'binary planets') from capturing each other through planet-planet dynamical tide during their close encounters and (2) the subsequent long-term orbital evolution due to planet-planet and planet-star quasi-static tides. For the initial evolution in phase 1, we carried out N-body simulations of the systems consisting of three Jupiter-mass planets taking into account the dynamical tide. The formation rate of the binary planets is as much as 10% of the systems that undergo orbital crossing, and this fraction is almost independent of the initial stellarcentric semimajor axes of the planets, while ejection and merging rates sensitively depend on the semimajor axes. As a result of circularization by the planet-planet dynamical tide, typical binary separations are a few times the sum of the physical radii of the planets. After the orbital circularization, the evolution of the binary system is governed by long-term quasi-static tide. We analytically calculated the quasi-static tidal evolution in phase 2. The binary planets first enter the spin-orbit synchronous state by the planet-planet tide. The planet-star tide removes angular momentum of the binary motion, eventually resulting in a collision between the planets. However, we found that the binary planets survive the tidal decay for the main-sequence lifetime of solar-type stars (∼10 Gyr), if the binary planets are beyond ∼0.3 AU from the central stars. These results suggest that the binary planets can be detected by transit observations at ≳ 0.3 AU.

  13. Planets in a Room

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giacomini, l.; Aloisi, F.; De Angelis, I.

    2017-09-01

    Teaching planetary science using a spherical projector to show the planets' surfaces is a very effective but usually very expensive idea. Whatsmore, it usually assumes the availability of a dedicated space and a trained user. "Planets in a room" is a prototypal low cost version of a small, spherical projector that teachers, museum, planetary scientists and other individuals can easily build and use on their own, to show and teach the planets The project of "Planets in a Room" was made by the italian non-profit association Speak Science with the collaboration of INAF-IAPS of Rome and the Roma Tre University (Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica). This proposal was funded by the Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme in 2016. "Planets in a room" will be presented during EPSC 2017 to give birth to the second phase of the project, when the outreach and research community will be involved and schools from all over Europe will be invited to participate with the aim of bringing planetary science to a larger audience.

  14. On the oscillations in Mercury's obliquity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bois, E.; Rambaux, N.

    2007-12-01

    Mercury's capture into the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance can be explained as a result of its chaotic orbital dynamics. One major objective of MESSENGER and BepiColombo spatial missions is to accurately measure Mercury's rotation and its obliquity in order to obtain constraints on internal structure of the planet. Analytical approaches at the first-order level using the Cassini state assumptions give the obliquity constant or quasi-constant. Which is the obliquity's dynamical behavior deriving from a complete spin-orbit motion of Mercury simultaneously integrated with planetary interactions? We have used our SONYR model (acronym of Spin-Orbit N-bodY Relativistic model) integrating the spin-orbit N-body problem applied to the Solar System (Sun and planets). For lack of current accurate observations or ephemerides of Mercury's rotation, and therefore for lack of valid initial conditions for a numerical integration, we have built an original method for finding the libration center of the spin-orbit system and, as a consequence, for avoiding arbitrary amplitudes in librations of the spin-orbit motion as well as in Mercury's obliquity. The method has been carried out in two cases: (1) the spin-orbit motion of Mercury in the 2-body problem case (Sun-Mercury) where an uniform precession of the Keplerian orbital plane is kinematically added at a fixed inclination ( S2K case), (2) the spin-orbit motion of Mercury in the N-body problem case (Sun and planets) ( S case). We find that the remaining amplitude of the oscillations in the S case is one order of magnitude larger than in the S2K case, namely 4 versus 0.4 arcseconds (peak-to-peak). The mean obliquity is also larger, namely 1.98 versus 1.80 arcminutes, for a difference of 10.8 arcseconds. These theoretical results are in a good agreement with recent radar observations but it is not excluded that it should be possible to push farther the convergence process by drawing nearer still more precisely to the libration center. We

  15. Recipes for planet formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Michael R.

    2009-11-01

    Anyone who has ever used baking soda instead of baking powder when trying to make a cake knows a simple truth: ingredients matter. The same is true for planet formation. Planets are made from the materials that coalesce in a rotating disk around young stars - essentially the "leftovers" from when the stars themselves formed through the gravitational collapse of rotating clouds of gas and dust. The planet-making disk should therefore initially have the same gas-to-dust ratio as the interstellar medium: about 100 to 1, by mass. Similarly, it seems logical that the elemental composition of the disk should match that of the star, reflecting the initial conditions at that particular spot in the galaxy.

  16. Minamata Convention on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    On November 6, 2013 the United States signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a new multilateral environmental agreement that addresses specific human activities which are contributing to widespread mercury pollution

  17. Crater Degradation on Mercury: A Global Perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kinczyk, M. J.; Byrne, P. K.; Prockter, L. M.; Susorney, H. C. M.; Chapman, C. R.; Barnouin, O. S.

    2017-12-01

    On geologic timescales, initially fresh craters are subjected to many weathering mechanisms. Whereas water and wind are, or were, effective erosive mechanisms such as on Earth and Mars, micrometeorite bombardment and modification due to subsequent impacts are the dominant processes that degrade craters and crater rays on airless bodies like the Moon and Mercury. Classifying craters based on their state of degradation can help determine the relative ages of landforms proximal to, and crosscut by, these craters. However, this method is most effective when used together with statistical analysis of crater distributions. Pre-MESSENGER degradation classification schemes lacked sufficient detail to be consistently applied to craters of various sizes and morphological types—despite evidence suggesting that the ejecta deposits of large basins persist much longer than those of smaller craters, for instance—yet broad assumptions have been made regarding the correlation of crater class to the planet's time-stratigraphic sequence. Moreover, previous efforts to categorize craters by degradation state have either been restricted to regional study sites or applied only to a subset of crater age or size. As a result, numerous interpretations of crater degradation state persist for Mercury, challenging a complete understanding of this process on the innermost planet. We report on the first global survey of crater degradation on Mercury. By modifying an established 5-class scheme, we have systematically applied a rigorous set of criteria to all craters ≥40 km in diameter on the planet. These criteria include the state and morphology of crater deposits separately (e.g., rim, floor, wall, ejecta) and degradation classes were assigned as the collection of these individual attributes. This approach yields a consistent classification of craters of different sizes. Our results provide the first comprehensive assessment of how craters of various states of degradation are distributed

  18. Mission to Planet Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tilford, Shelby G.; Asrar, Ghassem; Backlund, Peter W.

    1994-01-01

    Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) is NASA's concept for an international science program to produce the understanding needed to predict changes in the Earth's environment. NASA and its interagency and international partners will place satellites carrying advanced sensors in strategic Earth orbits to gather multidisciplinary data. A sophisticated data system will process and archive an unprecedented amount of information about the Earth and how it works as a system. Increased understanding of the Earth system is a basic human responsibility, a prerequisite to informed management of the planet's resources and to the preservation of the global environment.

  19. Mission to Planet Earth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, G.S.; Backlund, P.W.

    1992-01-01

    Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) is NASA's concept for an international science program to produce the understanding needed to predict changes in the earth's environment. NASA and its interagency and international partners will place satellites carrying advanced sensors in strategic earth orbits to gather multidisciplinary data. A sophisticated data system will process and archive an unprecedented amount of information about the earth and how it works as a system. Increased understanding of the earth system is a basic human responsibility, a prerequisite to informed management of the planet's resources and to the preservation of the global environment. 8 refs

  20. Mercury's Surface Magnetic Field Determined from Proton-Reflection Magnetometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winslow, Reka M.; Johnson, Catherine L.; Anderson, Brian J.; Gershman, Daniel J.; Raines, Jim M.; Lillis, Robert J.; Korth, Haje; Slavin, James A.; Solomon, Sean C.; Zurbuchen, Thomas H.; hide

    2014-01-01

    Solar wind protons observed by the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit about Mercury exhibit signatures of precipitation loss to Mercury's surface. We apply proton-reflection magnetometry to sense Mercury's surface magnetic field intensity in the planet's northern and southern hemispheres. The results are consistent with a dipole field offset to the north and show that the technique may be used to resolve regional-scale fields at the surface. The proton loss cones indicate persistent ion precipitation to the surface in the northern magnetospheric cusp region and in the southern hemisphere at low nightside latitudes. The latter observation implies that most of the surface in Mercury's southern hemisphere is continuously bombarded by plasma, in contrast with the premise that the global magnetic field largely protects the planetary surface from the solar wind.

  1. Mercury's thermal history and the generation of its magnetic field

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schubert, G.; Ross, M.N.; Stevenson, D.J.; Spohn, T.

    1988-01-01

    Thermal history of Mercury's interior is examined using the model of Stevenson et al. (1983), extended to include the effects of tidal heating in Mercury's solid inner core. The implications of Mercury's thermal history for the source of the planet's magnetic field are discussed. It is shown that the major results of this model are similar to the results obtained with the Stevenson et al. model, except for the addition of inner-core tidal dissipation. It is concluded that the extended model properly characterizes Mercury's internal structure and thermal history, and that the criteria for dynamo generation are not properly satisfied. Alternative explanations, including the possibility of a weak thermoelectric dynamo, are examined

  2. Mercury in Your Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Basic information about mercury, how it gets in the air, how people are exposed to it and health effects associated with exposure; what EPA and other organizations are doing to limit exposures; what citizens should know to minimize exposures and to reduce mercury in the environment; and information about products that contain mercury.

  3. Intentional intravenous mercury injection

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Three forms of mercury exist: elemental, inorganic and organic, all of which may be toxic with clinical consequences, depending on the type of exposure. Elemental mercury poisoning usually occurs via vapour inhalation, as mercury is well absorbed through the lungs. The central nervous system is then the major site of ...

  4. Planet formation, orbital evolution and planet-star tidal interaction

    OpenAIRE

    Lin, D. N. C.; Papaloizou, J. C. B.; Bryden, G.; Ida, S.; Terquem, C.

    1998-01-01

    We consider several processes operating during the late stages of planet formation that can affect observed orbital elements. Disk-planet interactions, tidal interactions with the central star, long term orbital instability and the Kozai mechanism are discussed.

  5. The Planet Formation Imager

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kraus, S.; Buscher, D. F.; Monnier, J. D.; PFI Science, the; Technical Working Group

    2014-04-01

    Among the most fascinating and hotly-debated areas in contemporary astrophysics are the means by which planetary systems are assembled from the large rotating disks of gas and dust which attend a stellar birth. Although important work is being done both in theory and observation, a full understanding of the physics of planet formation can only be achieved by opening observational windows able to directly witness the process in action. The key requirement is then to probe planet-forming systems at the natural spatial scales over which material is being assembled. By definition, this is the so-called Hill Sphere which delineates the region of influence of a gravitating body within its surrounding environment. The Planet Formation Imager project has crystallized around this challenging goal: to deliver resolved images of Hill-Sphere-sized structures within candidate planet-hosting disks in the nearest star-forming regions. In this contribution we outline the primary science case of PFI and discuss how PFI could significantly advance our understanding of the architecture and potential habitability of planetary systems. We present radiation-hydrodynamics simulations from which we derive preliminary specifications that guide the design of the facility. Finally, we give an overview about the interferometric and non-interferometric technologies that we are investigating in order to meet the specifications.

  6. Planets Move in Circles !

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    The orbits of planets, or any other bodies moving under an inverse square law force, can be understood with fresh insight using the idea of velocity space. Surprisingly, a particle moving on an ellipse or even a hyperbola still moves on a circle in this space. Other aspects of orbits such as conservation laws are discussed.

  7. MESSENGER observations of the composition of Mercury's ionized exosphere and plasma environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zurbuchen, Thomas H; Raines, Jim M; Gloeckler, George; Krimigis, Stamatios M; Slavin, James A; Koehn, Patrick L; Killen, Rosemary M; Sprague, Ann L; McNutt, Ralph L; Solomon, Sean C

    2008-07-04

    The region around Mercury is filled with ions that originate from interactions of the solar wind with Mercury's space environment and through ionization of its exosphere. The MESSENGER spacecraft's observations of Mercury's ionized exosphere during its first flyby yielded Na+, O+, and K+ abundances, consistent with expectations from observations of neutral species. There are increases in ions at a mass per charge (m/q) = 32 to 35, which we interpret to be S+ and H2S+, with (S+ + H2S+)/(Na+ + Mg+) = 0.67 +/- 0.06, and from water-group ions around m/q = 18, at an abundance of 0.20 +/- 0.03 relative to Na+ plus Mg+. The fluxes of Na+, O+, and heavier ions are largest near the planet, but these Mercury-derived ions fill the magnetosphere. Doubly ionized ions originating from Mercury imply that electrons with energies less than 1 kiloelectron volt are substantially energized in Mercury's magnetosphere.

  8. Planetary science. Low-altitude magnetic field measurements by MESSENGER reveal Mercury's ancient crustal field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Catherine L; Phillips, Roger J; Purucker, Michael E; Anderson, Brian J; Byrne, Paul K; Denevi, Brett W; Feinberg, Joshua M; Hauck, Steven A; Head, James W; Korth, Haje; James, Peter B; Mazarico, Erwan; Neumann, Gregory A; Philpott, Lydia C; Siegler, Matthew A; Tsyganenko, Nikolai A; Solomon, Sean C

    2015-05-22

    Magnetized rocks can record the history of the magnetic field of a planet, a key constraint for understanding its evolution. From orbital vector magnetic field measurements of Mercury taken by the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft at altitudes below 150 kilometers, we have detected remanent magnetization in Mercury's crust. We infer a lower bound on the average age of magnetization of 3.7 to 3.9 billion years. Our findings indicate that a global magnetic field driven by dynamo processes in the fluid outer core operated early in Mercury's history. Ancient field strengths that range from those similar to Mercury's present dipole field to Earth-like values are consistent with the magnetic field observations and with the low iron content of Mercury's crust inferred from MESSENGER elemental composition data. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  9. Impact Vaporization as a Possible Source of Mercury's Calcium Exosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Killen, Rosemary M.; Hahn, Joseph M.

    2015-01-01

    Mercury's calcium exosphere varies in a periodic way with that planet's true anomaly. We show that this pattern can be explained by impact vaporization from interplanetary dust with variations being due to Mercury's radial and vertical excursions through an interplanetary dust disk having an inclination within 5 degrees of the plane of Mercury's orbit. Both a highly inclined dust disk and a two-disk model (where the two disks have a mutual inclination) fail to reproduce the observed variation in calcium exospheric abundance with Mercury true anomaly angle. However, an additional source of impacting dust beyond the nominal dust disk is required near Mercury's true anomaly (?) 25deg +/-5deg. This is close to but not coincident with Mercury's true anomaly (?=45deg) when it crosses comet 2P/Encke's present day orbital plane. Interestingly, the Taurid meteor storms at Earth, which are also due to Comet Encke, are observed to occur when Earth's true anomaly is +/-20 or so degrees before and after the position where Earth and Encke orbital planes cross. The lack of exact correspondence with the present day orbit of Encke may indicate the width of the potential stream along Mercury's orbit or a previous cometary orbit. The extreme energy of the escaping calcium, estimated to have a temperature greater than 50000 K if the source is thermal, cannot be due to the impact process itself but must be imparted by an additional mechanism such as dissociation of a calcium-bearing molecule or ionization followed by recombination.

  10. Planets in Binary Star Systems

    CERN Document Server

    Haghighipour, Nader

    2010-01-01

    The discovery of extrasolar planets over the past decade has had major impacts on our understanding of the formation and dynamical evolution of planetary systems. There are features and characteristics unseen in our solar system and unexplainable by the current theories of planet formation and dynamics. Among these new surprises is the discovery of planets in binary and multiple-star systems. The discovery of such "binary-planetary" systems has confronted astrodynamicists with many new challenges, and has led them to re-examine the theories of planet formation and dynamics. Among these challenges are: How are planets formed in binary star systems? What would be the notion of habitability in such systems? Under what conditions can binary star systems have habitable planets? How will volatiles necessary for life appear on such planets? This volume seeks to gather the current research in the area of planets in binary and multistar systems and to familiarize readers with its associated theoretical and observation...

  11. Classifying Planets: Nature vs. Nurture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beichman, Charles A.

    2009-05-01

    The idea of a planet was so simple when we learned about the solar system in elementary school. Now students and professional s alike are faced with confusing array of definitions --- from "Brown Dwarfs” to "Super Jupiters", from "Super Earths” to "Terrestrial Planets", and from "Planets” to "Small, Sort-of Round Things That Aren't Really Planets". I will discuss how planets might be defined by how they formed, where they are found, or by the life they might support.

  12. Planning Bepicolombo MPO Science Operations to study Mercury Interior

    Science.gov (United States)

    De La Fuente, Sara; Carasa, Angela; Ortiz, Iñaki; Rodriguez, Pedro; Casale, Mauro; Benkhoff, Johannes; Zender, Joe

    2017-04-01

    BepiColombo is an Interdisciplinary Cornerstone ESA-JAXA Mission to Mercury, with two orbiters, the ESA Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the JAXA Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) dedicated to study of the planet and its magnetosphere. The MPO, is a three-axis-stabilized, nadir-pointing spacecraft which will be placed in a polar orbit, providing excellent spatial resolution over the entire planet surface. The MPO's scientific payload comprises 11 instrument packages, including laser altimeter, cameras and the radio science experiment that will be dedicated to the study of Mercury's interior: structure, composition, formation and evolution. The planning of the science operations to be carried out by the Mercury's interior scientific instruments will be done by the SGS located at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), in conjunction with the scientific instrument teams. The process will always consider the complete nominal mission duration, such that the contribution of the scheduled science operations to the science objectives, the total data volume generated, and the seasonal interdependency, can be tracked. The heart of the science operations planning process is the Observations Catalogue (OC), a web-accessed database to collect and analyse all science operations requests. From the OC, the SGS will first determine all science opportunity windows compatible with the spacecraft operational constraints. Secondly, only those compatible with the resources (power and data volume) and pointing constraints will be chosen, including slew feasibility.

  13. Extrasolar Planets in the Classroom

    Science.gov (United States)

    George, Samuel J.

    2011-01-01

    The field of extrasolar planets is still, in comparison with other astrophysical topics, in its infancy. There have been about 300 or so extrasolar planets detected and their detection has been accomplished by various different techniques. Here we present a simple laboratory experiment to show how planets are detected using the transit technique.…

  14. Mercury evaporation from amalgams with varied mercury contents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohmoto, K; Nakajima, H; Ferracane, J L; Shintani, H; Okabe, T

    2000-09-01

    This study examined the relationship between mercury content and mercury evaporation from amalgams during setting. Two different types of commercial high-copper amalgams (single composition and admixed types) were used. Cylindrical specimens of each amalgam were prepared with five different mercury contents according to ADA Specification No.1. Specimens were also prepared by hand condensation. Mercury evaporation from amalgam specimens maintained at 37 degrees C was measured using a gold film mercury analyzer from 10 min after the end of trituration until the mercury concentration in air reached an undetectable level. The mercury content more clearly influenced the mercury evaporation from the admixed type amalgam specimens when the mercury content decreased below the manufacturers' recommended trituration conditions. Triturating with less mercury than the manufacturers' recommended amount cannot lower the evaporation of mercury from freshly made amalgam. Proper condensing procedures can minimize the mercury evaporation from the amalgam surface.

  15. Dynamics of electrons and heavy ions in Mercury's magnetosphere

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ip, W.H.

    1987-01-01

    The present investigation of Mercury magnetosphere processes employs simple models for the adiabatic acceleration and convection of equatorially mirroring charged particles, as well as the current sheet acceleration effect and the acceleration of such exospheric ions as that of Na(+) by both electric and magnetic magnetospheric fields near Mercury's surface. The large gyroradii of such heavy ions as those of Na allow surface reimpact as well as magnetopause-interception losses to occur; gyromotion-derived kinetic energy could in the case of the latter process account for the loss of as many as half of the planet's exospheric ions. 27 references

  16. An Assessment of the Length and Variability of Mercury's Magnetotail

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milan, S. E.; Slavin, J. A.

    2011-01-01

    We employ Mariner 10 measurements of the interplanetary magnetic field in the vicinity of Mercury to estimate the rate of magnetic reconnection between the interplanetary magnetic field and the Hermean magnetosphere. We derive a time-series of the open magnetic flux in Mercury's magnetosphere. from which we can deduce the length of the magnetotail The length of the magnetotail is shown to be highly variable. with open field lines stretching between 15R(sub H) and 8S0R(sub H) downstream of the planet (median 150R(sub H)). Scaling laws allow the tail length at perihelion to be deduced from the aphelion Mariner 10 observations.

  17. TPS for Outer Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Venkatapathy, Ethiraj; Ellerby, D.; Gage, P.; Gasch, M.; Hwang, H.; Prabhu, D.; Stackpoole, M.; Wercinski, Paul

    2018-01-01

    This invited talk will provide an assessment of the TPS needs for Outer Planet In-situ missions to destinations with atmosphere. The talk will outline the drivers for TPS from destination, science, mission architecture and entry environment. An assessment of the readiness of the TPS, both currently available and under development, for Saturn, Titan, Uranus and Neptune are provided. The challenges related to sustainability of the TPS for future missions are discussed.

  18. MESSENGER observations of Mercury's exosphere: detection of magnesium and distribution of constituents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClintock, William E; Vervack, Ronald J; Bradley, E Todd; Killen, Rosemary M; Mouawad, Nelly; Sprague, Ann L; Burger, Matthew H; Solomon, Sean C; Izenberg, Noam R

    2009-05-01

    Mercury is surrounded by a tenuous exosphere that is supplied primarily by the planet's surface materials and is known to contain sodium, potassium, and calcium. Observations by the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer during MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby revealed the presence of neutral magnesium in the tail (anti-sunward) region of the exosphere, as well as differing spatial distributions of magnesium, calcium, and sodium atoms in both the tail and the nightside, near-planet exosphere. Analysis of these observations, supplemented by observations during the first Mercury flyby, as well as those by other MESSENGER instruments, suggests that the distinct spatial distributions arise from a combination of differences in source, transfer, and loss processes.

  19. Mercury balance analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Maag, J.; Lassen, C.; Hansen, E.

    1996-01-01

    A detailed assessment of the consumption of mercury, divided into use areas, was carried out. Disposal and emissions to the environment were also qualified. The assessment is mainly based on data from 1992 - 1993. The most important source of emission of mercury to air is solid waste incineration which is assessed in particular to be due to the supply of mercury in batteries (most likely mercury oxide batteries from photo equipment) and to dental fillings. The second most important source of mercury emission to air is coal-fired power plants which are estimated to account for 200-500 kg of mercury emission p.a. Other mercury emissions are mainly related to waste treatment and disposal. The consumption of mercury is generally decreasing. During the period from 1982/83 - 1992-93, the total consumption of mercury in Denmark was about halved. This development is related to the fact that consumption with regard to several important use areas (batteries, dental fillings, thermometers etc.) has been significantly reduced, while for other purposes the use of mercury has completely, or almost disappeared, i.e. (fungicides for seed, tubes etc.). (EG)

  20. Definition of Physical Height Systems for Telluric Planets and Moons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tenzer, Robert; Foroughi, Ismael; Sjöberg, Lars E.; Bagherbandi, Mohammad; Hirt, Christian; Pitoňák, Martin

    2018-01-01

    In planetary sciences, the geodetic (geometric) heights defined with respect to the reference surface (the sphere or the ellipsoid) or with respect to the center of the planet/moon are typically used for mapping topographic surface, compilation of global topographic models, detailed mapping of potential landing sites, and other space science and engineering purposes. Nevertheless, certain applications, such as studies of gravity-driven mass movements, require the physical heights to be defined with respect to the equipotential surface. Taking the analogy with terrestrial height systems, the realization of height systems for telluric planets and moons could be done by means of defining the orthometric and geoidal heights. In this case, however, the definition of the orthometric heights in principle differs. Whereas the terrestrial geoid is described as an equipotential surface that best approximates the mean sea level, such a definition for planets/moons is irrelevant in the absence of (liquid) global oceans. A more natural choice for planets and moons is to adopt the geoidal equipotential surface that closely approximates the geometric reference surface (the sphere or the ellipsoid). In this study, we address these aspects by proposing a more accurate approach for defining the orthometric heights for telluric planets and moons from available topographic and gravity models, while adopting the average crustal density in the absence of reliable crustal density models. In particular, we discuss a proper treatment of topographic masses in the context of gravimetric geoid determination. In numerical studies, we investigate differences between the geodetic and orthometric heights, represented by the geoidal heights, on Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Moon. Our results reveal that these differences are significant. The geoidal heights on Mercury vary from - 132 to 166 m. On Venus, the geoidal heights are between - 51 and 137 m with maxima on this planet at Atla Regio and Beta

  1. Observed properties of extrasolar planets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howard, Andrew W

    2013-05-03

    Observational surveys for extrasolar planets probe the diverse outcomes of planet formation and evolution. These surveys measure the frequency of planets with different masses, sizes, orbital characteristics, and host star properties. Small planets between the sizes of Earth and Neptune substantially outnumber Jupiter-sized planets. The survey measurements support the core accretion model, in which planets form by the accumulation of solids and then gas in protoplanetary disks. The diversity of exoplanetary characteristics demonstrates that most of the gross features of the solar system are one outcome in a continuum of possibilities. The most common class of planetary system detectable today consists of one or more planets approximately one to three times Earth's size orbiting within a fraction of the Earth-Sun distance.

  2. Process for low mercury coal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Merriam, Norman W.; Grimes, R. William; Tweed, Robert E.

    1995-01-01

    A process for producing low mercury coal during precombustion procedures by releasing mercury through discriminating mild heating that minimizes other burdensome constituents. Said mercury is recovered from the overhead gases by selective removal.

  3. Revisiting the Capture of Mercury into Its 3:2 Spin-orbit Resonance

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-01-01

    well before differentiation. Keywords. celestial mechanics, planets and satellites: individual ( Mercury ) 1. Previous studies In the literature hitherto...2014 2. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2014 to 00-00-2014 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Revisiting the capture of Mercury into its 3:2 spin-orbit...PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME (S) AND ADDRESS(ES) United States Naval Observatory,,Washington,,DC,20392 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER 9

  4. The Scattering Outcomes of Kepler Circumbinary Planets: Planet Mass Ratio

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gong, Yan-Xiang; Ji, Jianghui

    2017-11-01

    Recent studies reveal that the free eccentricities of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b are much larger than their forced eccentricities, implying that scattering events may take place in their formation. The observed orbital configuration of Kepler-34b cannot be well reproduced in disk-driven migration models, whereas a two-planet scattering scenario can play a significant role of shaping the planetary configuration. These studies indicate that circumbinary planets discovered by Kepler may have experienced scattering process. In this work, we extensively investigate the scattering outcomes of circumbinary planets focusing on the effects of planet mass ratio. We find that the planetary mass ratio and the the initial relative locations of planets act as two important parameters that affect the eccentricity distribution of the surviving planets. As an application of our model, we discuss the observed orbital configurations of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b. We first adopt the results from the disk-driven models as the initial conditions, then simulate the scattering process that occurs in the late evolution stage of circumbinary planets. We show that the present orbital configurations of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b can be well reproduced when considering a two unequal-mass planet ejection model. Our work further suggests that some of the currently discovered circumbinary single-planet systems may be survivors of original multiple-planet systems. The disk-driven migration and scattering events occurring in the late stage both play an irreplaceable role in sculpting the final systems.

  5. The Scattering Outcomes of Kepler Circumbinary Planets: Planet Mass Ratio

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gong, Yan-Xiang; Ji, Jianghui, E-mail: yxgong@pmo.ac.cn, E-mail: jijh@pmo.ac.cn [CAS Key Laboratory of Planetary Sciences, Purple Mountain Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008 (China)

    2017-11-01

    Recent studies reveal that the free eccentricities of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b are much larger than their forced eccentricities, implying that scattering events may take place in their formation. The observed orbital configuration of Kepler-34b cannot be well reproduced in disk-driven migration models, whereas a two-planet scattering scenario can play a significant role of shaping the planetary configuration. These studies indicate that circumbinary planets discovered by Kepler may have experienced scattering process. In this work, we extensively investigate the scattering outcomes of circumbinary planets focusing on the effects of planet mass ratio . We find that the planetary mass ratio and the the initial relative locations of planets act as two important parameters that affect the eccentricity distribution of the surviving planets. As an application of our model, we discuss the observed orbital configurations of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b. We first adopt the results from the disk-driven models as the initial conditions, then simulate the scattering process that occurs in the late evolution stage of circumbinary planets. We show that the present orbital configurations of Kepler-34b and Kepler-413b can be well reproduced when considering a two unequal-mass planet ejection model. Our work further suggests that some of the currently discovered circumbinary single-planet systems may be survivors of original multiple-planet systems. The disk-driven migration and scattering events occurring in the late stage both play an irreplaceable role in sculpting the final systems.

  6. Gravity, Topography, and Magnetic Field of Mercury from Messenger

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neumann, Gregory A.; Solomon, Sean C.; Zuber, Maria T.; Phillips, Roger J.; Barnouin, Olivier; Ernst, Carolyn; Goosens, Sander; Hauck, Steven A., II; Head, James W., III; Johnson, Catherine L.; hide

    2012-01-01

    On 18 March 2011, the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft was inserted into a 12-hour, near-polar orbit around Mercury, with an initial periapsis altitude of 200 km, initial periapse latitude of 60 deg N, and apoapsis at approximately 15,200 km altitude in the southern hemisphere. This orbit has permitted the mapping of regional gravitational structure in the northern hemisphere, and laser altimetry from the MESSENGER spacecraft has yielded a geodetically controlled elevation model for the same hemisphere. The shape of a planet combined with gravity provides fundamental information regarding its internal structure and geologic and thermal evolution. Elevations in the northern hemisphere exhibit a unimodal distribution with a dynamic range of 9.63 km, less than that of the Moon (19.9 km), but consistent with Mercury's higher surface gravitational acceleration. After one Earth-year in orbit, refined models of gravity and topography have revealed several large positive gravity anomalies that coincide with major impact basins. These candidate mascons have anomalies that exceed 100 mGal and indicate substantial crustal thinning and superisostatic uplift of underlying mantle. An additional uncompensated 1000-km-diameter gravity and topographic high at 68 deg N, 33 deg E lies within Mercury's northern volcanic plains. Mercury's northern hemisphere crust is generally thicker at low latitudes than in the polar region. The low-degree gravity field, combined with planetary spin parameters, yields the moment of inertia C/MR2 = 0.353 +/- 0.017, where M=3.30 x 10(exp 23) kg and R=2440 km are Mercury's mass and radius, and a ratio of the moment of inertia of Mercury's solid outer shell to that of the planet of Cm/C = 0.452 +/- 0.035. One proposed model for Mercury's radial density distribution consistent with these results includes silicate crust and mantle layers overlying a dense solid (possibly Fe-S) layer, a liquid Fe

  7. Earth-based optical imaging of Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ksanfomality, L. V.

    2006-01-01

    In recent years, considerable progress has been achieved in producing resolved images of Mercury electronically with short exposures at Earth-based telescopes. For the purpose of obtaining images of the unknown portion of Mercury, the previously started series of observations of this planet by the short exposure method was continued. About 20,000 electronic images of Mercury have been acquired on 1-2 May 2002 under good meteorological conditions during the evening elongation. The phase angle of Mercury was 95-99° and the observed range of longitudes was 210-285°W. Observations were carried out using Ritchy-Chrétien telescope ( D = 1.29 m, F = 9.86 m) with the KS 19 filter cutting wavelengths shorter than about 700 nm. The planet's disk was seen, on average, at an angle of 7.7″. A CCD with a pixel size of 7.4 × 7.4 ncm in the regime of short exposures was used. By processing a great number of electronic images, a sufficiently distinct synthesized image of the unknown portion of Mercury's surface was obtained. The most prominent formation in this region is a giant basin (or cratered "mare") centered at about 8°N, 280°W, which was given a working name "Skinakas basin" (after the name of the observatory where observations were made). By its size, the interior part of this basin exceeds the largest lunar Mare Imbrium. As opposed to Mare Imbrium, the Skinakas basin is presumably of impact origin. Its relief resembles that of Caloris Planitia but the size is much larger. A series of smaller formations are also seen on synthesized images. The resolution obtained on the surface of Mercury is about 100 km, which is close to the telescope diffraction limit. Also considered is the synthesized image obtained at the Mount Bigelow Observatory, on December 4, 2003 (Ritchy-Chrétien telescope, D = 1.54 m, F = 20.79 m, using the same CCD camera).

  8. An Earth-sized exoplanet with a Mercury-like composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santerne, A.; Brugger, B.; Armstrong, D. J.; Adibekyan, V.; Lillo-Box, J.; Gosselin, H.; Aguichine, A.; Almenara, J.-M.; Barrado, D.; Barros, S. C. C.; Bayliss, D.; Boisse, I.; Bonomo, A. S.; Bouchy, F.; Brown, D. J. A.; Deleuil, M.; Delgado Mena, E.; Demangeon, O.; Díaz, R. F.; Doyle, A.; Dumusque, X.; Faedi, F.; Faria, J. P.; Figueira, P.; Foxell, E.; Giles, H.; Hébrard, G.; Hojjatpanah, S.; Hobson, M.; Jackman, J.; King, G.; Kirk, J.; Lam, K. W. F.; Ligi, R.; Lovis, C.; Louden, T.; McCormac, J.; Mousis, O.; Neal, J. J.; Osborn, H. P.; Pepe, F.; Pollacco, D.; Santos, N. C.; Sousa, S. G.; Udry, S.; Vigan, A.

    2018-03-01

    Earth, Venus, Mars and some extrasolar terrestrial planets1 have a mass and radius that is consistent with a mass fraction of about 30% metallic core and 70% silicate mantle2. At the inner frontier of the Solar System, Mercury has a completely different composition, with a mass fraction of about 70% metallic core and 30% silicate mantle3. Several formation or evolution scenarios are proposed to explain this metal-rich composition, such as a giant impact4, mantle evaporation5 or the depletion of silicate at the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk6. These scenarios are still strongly debated. Here, we report the discovery of a multiple transiting planetary system (K2-229) in which the inner planet has a radius of 1.165 ± 0.066 Earth radii and a mass of 2.59 ± 0.43 Earth masses. This Earth-sized planet thus has a core-mass fraction that is compatible with that of Mercury, although it was expected to be similar to that of Earth based on host-star chemistry7. This larger Mercury analogue either formed with a very peculiar composition or has evolved, for example, by losing part of its mantle. Further characterization of Mercury-like exoplanets such as K2-229 b will help to put the detailed in situ observations of Mercury (with MESSENGER and BepiColombo8) into the global context of the formation and evolution of solar and extrasolar terrestrial planets.

  9. Peru Mercury Inventory 2006

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, William E.; Sandoval, Esteban; Yepez, Miguel A.; Howard, Howell

    2007-01-01

    In 2004, a specific need for data on mercury use in South America was indicated by the United Nations Environmental Programme-Chemicals (UNEP-Chemicals) at a workshop on regional mercury pollution that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mercury has long been mined and used in South America for artisanal gold mining and imported for chlor-alkali production, dental amalgam, and other uses. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides information on domestic and international mercury production, trade, prices, sources, and recycling in its annual Minerals Yearbook mercury chapter. Therefore, in response to UNEP-Chemicals, the USGS, in collaboration with the Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy, Lima, has herein compiled data on Peru's exports, imports, and byproduct production of mercury. Peru was selected for this inventory because it has a 2000-year history of mercury production and use, and continues today as an important source of mercury for the global market, as a byproduct from its gold mines. Peru is a regional distributor of imported mercury and user of mercury for artisanal gold mining and chlor-alkali production. Peruvian customs data showed that 22 metric tons (t) of byproduct mercury was exported to the United States in 2006. Transshipped mercury was exported to Brazil (1 t), Colombia (1 t), and Guyana (1 t). Mercury was imported from the United States (54 t), Spain (19 t), and Kyrgyzstan (8 t) in 2006 and was used for artisanal gold mining, chlor-alkali production, dental amalgam, or transshipment to other countries in the region. Site visits and interviews provided information on the use and disposition of mercury for artisanal gold mining and other uses. Peru also imports mercury-containing batteries, electronics and computers, fluorescent lamps, and thermometers. In 2006, Peru imported approximately 1,900 t of a wide variety of fluorescent lamps; however, the mercury contained in these lamps, a minimum of approximately 76 kilograms (kg), and in

  10. Formation of Outer Planets: Overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lissauer, Jack

    2003-01-01

    An overview of current theories of planetary formation, with emphasis on giant planets is presented. The most detailed models are based upon observation of our own Solar System and of young stars and their environments. Terrestrial planets are believe to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. According to the prevailing core instability model, giant planets begin their growth by the accumulation of small solid bodies, as do terrestrial planets. However, unlike terrestrial planets, the growing giant cores become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk disspates. The primary questions regarding the core instability model is whether planets with small cores can accrete gaseous enveloples within the lifetimes of gaseous protoplanetary disks. The main alternative giant planet formation model is the disk instability model, in which gaseous planets form directly via gravitational instabilities within protoplanetary disks. Formation of giant planets via gas instability has never been demonstrated for realistic disk conditions. Moreover, this model has difficulty explaining the supersolar abundances of heavy elements in Jupiter and Saturn, and it does not explain the orgin of planets like Uranus and Neptune.

  11. Addressing the statistical mechanics of planet orbits in the solar system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mogavero, Federico

    2017-10-01

    The chaotic nature of planet dynamics in the solar system suggests the relevance of a statistical approach to planetary orbits. In such a statistical description, the time-dependent position and velocity of the planets are replaced by the probability density function (PDF) of their orbital elements. It is natural to set up this kind of approach in the framework of statistical mechanics. In the present paper, I focus on the collisionless excitation of eccentricities and inclinations via gravitational interactions in a planetary system. The future planet trajectories in the solar system constitute the prototype of this kind of dynamics. I thus address the statistical mechanics of the solar system planet orbits and try to reproduce the PDFs numerically constructed by Laskar (2008, Icarus, 196, 1). I show that the microcanonical ensemble of the Laplace-Lagrange theory accurately reproduces the statistics of the giant planet orbits. To model the inner planets I then investigate the ansatz of equiprobability in the phase space constrained by the secular integrals of motion. The eccentricity and inclination PDFs of Earth and Venus are reproduced with no free parameters. Within the limitations of a stationary model, the predictions also show a reasonable agreement with Mars PDFs and that of Mercury inclination. The eccentricity of Mercury demands in contrast a deeper analysis. I finally revisit the random walk approach of Laskar to the time dependence of the inner planet PDFs. Such a statistical theory could be combined with direct numerical simulations of planet trajectories in the context of planet formation, which is likely to be a chaotic process.

  12. The evolution of Mercury's crust: a global perspective from MESSENGER.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denevi, Brett W; Robinson, Mark S; Solomon, Sean C; Murchie, Scott L; Blewett, David T; Domingue, Deborah L; McCoy, Timothy J; Ernst, Carolyn M; Head, James W; Watters, Thomas R; Chabot, Nancy L

    2009-05-01

    Mapping the distribution and extent of major terrain types on a planet's surface helps to constrain the origin and evolution of its crust. Together, MESSENGER and Mariner 10 observations of Mercury now provide a near-global look at the planet, revealing lateral and vertical heterogeneities in the color and thus composition of Mercury's crust. Smooth plains cover approximately 40% of the surface, and evidence for the volcanic origin of large expanses of plains suggests that a substantial portion of the crust originated volcanically. A low-reflectance, relatively blue component affects at least 15% of the surface and is concentrated in crater and basin ejecta. Its spectral characteristics and likely origin at depth are consistent with its apparent excavation from a lower crust or upper mantle enriched in iron- and titanium-bearing oxides.

  13. Differentiation of crusts and cores of the terrestrial planets: lessons for the early Earth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Solomon, S.C.

    1980-01-01

    It now appears probable that all of the terrestrial planets underwent some form of global chemical differentiation to produce crusts, mantles, and cores of variable relative mass fractions. There is direct seismic evidence for a crust on the Moon, and indirect evidence for distinct crusts on Mars and Venus. Substantial portions of these crusts have been in place since the time that heavy bombardment of the inner solar system ceased approximately 4 Ga ago. There is direct evidence for a sizeable core on Mars, indirect evidence for one on Mercury, and bounds on a possible small core for the Moon. Core formation is an important heat source confined to times prior to 4 Ga ago for Mercury and the Earth, but was not closely linked to crustal formation on the Moon nor, apparently, on Mars. The tectonic and volcanic histories of the surfaces of the terrestrial planets Moon, Mars, and Mercury can be used, with simple thermal history models, to restrict the earliest chemical differentiation to be shallow (outer 200-400 km) for the first two bodies and much more extensive for Mercury. Extension of these models to an Earth-size planet leads to the prediction of a hot and vigorously convecting mantle with an easily deformable crust immediately following core formation, and of the gradual development of a lithosphere and of plates with some lateral rigidity in Late Archean-Proterzoic times. (Auth.)

  14. Modeling Mercury in Proteins

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Smith, Jeremy C [ORNL; Parks, Jerry M [ORNL

    2016-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a naturally occurring element that is released into the biosphere both by natural processes and anthropogenic activities. Although its reduced, elemental form Hg(0) is relatively non-toxic, other forms such as Hg2+ and, in particular, its methylated form, methylmercury, are toxic, with deleterious effects on both ecosystems and humans. Microorganisms play important roles in the transformation of mercury in the environment. Inorganic Hg2+ can be methylated by certain bacteria and archaea to form methylmercury. Conversely, bacteria also demethylate methylmercury and reduce Hg2+ to relatively inert Hg(0). Transformations and toxicity occur as a result of mercury interacting with various proteins. Clearly, then, understanding the toxic effects of mercury and its cycling in the environment requires characterization of these interactions. Computational approaches are ideally suited to studies of mercury in proteins because they can provide a detailed picture and circumvent issues associated with toxicity. Here we describe computational methods for investigating and characterizing how mercury binds to proteins, how inter- and intra-protein transfer of mercury is orchestrated in biological systems, and how chemical reactions in proteins transform the metal. We describe quantum chemical analyses of aqueous Hg(II), which reveal critical factors that determine ligand binding propensities. We then provide a perspective on how we used chemical reasoning to discover how microorganisms methylate mercury. We also highlight our combined computational and experimental studies of the proteins and enzymes of the mer operon, a suite of genes that confers mercury resistance in many bacteria. Lastly, we place work on mercury in proteins in the context of what is needed for a comprehensive multi-scale model of environmental mercury cycling.

  15. Constitution of terrestrial planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Waenke, H.

    1981-01-01

    Reliable estimates of the bulk composition are restricted to the Earth, the Moon and the eucrite parent asteroid. The last, the parent body of the eucrite-diogenite family of meteorites, seems to have an almost chondritic composition except for a considerable depletion of all moderately volatile (Na, K, Rb, F, etc.) and highly volatile (Cl, Br, Cd, Pb, etc.) elements. The moon is also depleted in moderate volatile and volatile elements compared to carbonaceous chondrites of type 1 (C1) and to the Earth. Again normalized to C1 and Si the Earth's mantle and the Moon are slightly enriched in refractory lithophile elements and in magnesium. The striking depletion of the Earth's mantle for the elements V, Cr and Mn can be explained by their partial removal into the core. Apart from their contents of metallic iron, all siderophile elements, moderately volatile and volatile elements, Earth and Moon are chemically very similar. It might well be that, with these exceptions and that of a varying degree of oxidation, all the inner planets have a similar chemistry. The chemical composition of the Earth's mantle, yields important information about the accretion history of the Earth and that of the inner planets. (author)

  16. The Planet Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luhmann, Janet

    This book is not so much for the space scientist looking for background material for research as it is for one interested in the history of planetary exploration. The first half (˜100 pps) is devoted to studies of Venus before the space age, starting at several hundred years BC. It is obvious from the multitude of detailed descriptions of observers' accounts that considerable library research went into this section. While sometimes tedious, this chronology of Venus research is punctuated with amusing facts. While many may know about the Velikovsky theory of the cometary origin of the planet, few may know that Lowell drew pictures of Cytherian canals similar to the canals of Mars or that Frederick the Great of Prussia proposed to name the (once suspected) satellite of Venus D'Alembert, after the mathematician. An equally amusing appendix shows the ups and downs of the rotation period of this planet with the invisible surface. Much attention is focused on early telescope observations, the ashen light, and transits of Venus. At the end of this half, one appreciates that Venus has played a fairly important role in history in the areas of religion, science, and technology.

  17. Starting a Planet Protectors Club

    Science.gov (United States)

    US Environmental Protection Agency, 2007

    2007-01-01

    If your mission is to teach children how to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste and create the next generation of Planet Protectors, perhaps leading a Planet Protectors Club is part of your future challenges. You don't have to be an expert in waste reduction and recycling to lead a a Planet Protectors Club. You don't even have to be a teacher. You do…

  18. Formation of the giant planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lissauer, Jack J.

    2006-01-01

    The observed properties of giant planets, models of their evolution and observations of protoplanetary disks provide constraints on the formation of gas giant planets. The four largest planets in our Solar System contain considerable quantities of hydrogen and helium, which could not have condensed into solid planetesimals within the protoplanetary disk. All three (transiting) extrasolar giant planets with well determined masses and radii also must contain substantial amounts of these light gases. Jupiter and Saturn are mostly hydrogen and helium, but have larger abundances of heavier elements than does the Sun. Neptune and Uranus are primarily composed of heavier elements. HD 149026 b, which is slightly more massive than is Saturn, appears to have comparable quantities of light gases and heavy elements. HD 209458 b and TrES-1 are primarily hydrogen and helium, but may contain supersolar abundances of heavy elements. Spacecraft flybys and observations of satellite orbits provide estimates of the gravitational moments of the giant planets in our Solar System, which in turn provide information on the internal distribution of matter within Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Atmospheric thermal structure and heat flow measurements constrain the interior temperatures of planets. Internal processes may cause giant planets to become more compositionally differentiated or alternatively more homogeneous; high-pressure laboratory .experiments provide data useful for modeling these processes. The preponderance of evidence supports the core nucleated gas accretion model. According to this model, giant planets begin their growth by the accumulation of small solid bodies, as do terrestrial planets. However, unlike terrestrial planets, the growing giant planet cores become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. The primary questions regarding the core nucleated growth model is under what conditions

  19. Professor: The Animal Planet Optimization

    OpenAIRE

    Satish Gajawada

    2014-01-01

    This paper is dedicated to everyone who is interested in making this planet a better place to live. In the past, researchers have explored behavior of several animals separately. But there is scope to explore in the direction where various artificial animals together solve the optimization problem. In this paper, Satish Gajawada proposed The AnimalPlanet Optimization. The concept of this paper is to imitate all the animals on this planet. The idea is to solve the optimization problem where al...

  20. The hunt for Planet X

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Croswell, Ken.

    1990-01-01

    This article examines the hypothesis that an, as yet unobserved, planet, beyond the orbit of Pluto is responsible for peculiarities in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. A brief overview of the discovery and observation of the outer planets is offered. The evidence for and against the proposition is noted, and the work of two present day scientists, is mentioned both of whom agree with the idea, and are searching for optical proof of the planet's existence. U.K

  1. Mercury's Pyroclastic Deposits and their spectral variability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Besse, Sebastien; Doressoundiram, Alain

    2016-10-01

    Observations of the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around Mercury have shown that volcanism is a very important process that has shaped the surface of the planet, in particular in its early history.In this study, we use the full range of the MASCS spectrometer (300-1400nm) to characterize the spectral properties of the pyroclastic deposits. Analysis of deposits within the Caloris Basin, and on other location of Mercury's surface (e.g., Hesiod, Rachmaninoff, etc.) show two main results: 1) Spectral variability is significant in the UV and VIS range between the deposits themselves, and also with respect to the rest of the planet and other features like hollows, 2) Deposits exhibit a radial variability similar to those found with the lunar pyroclastic deposits of floor fractured craters.These results are put in context with the latest analysis of other instruments of the MESSENGER spacecraft, in particular the visible observations from the imager MDIS, and the elemental composition given by the X-Ray spectrometer. Although all together, the results do not allow pointing to compositional variability of the deposits for certain, information on the formation mechanisms, the weathering and the age formation can be extrapolated from the radial variability and the elemental composition.

  2. Expected Geochemical and Mineralogical Properties of Meteorites from Mercury: Inferences from Messenger Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCubbin, F. M.; McCoy, T. J.

    2016-01-01

    Meteorites from the Moon, Mars, and many types of asteroid bodies have been identified among our global inventory of meteorites, however samples of Mercury and Venus have not been identified. The absence of mercurian and venusian meteorites could be attributed to an inability to recognize them in our collections due to a paucity of geochemical information for Venus and Mercury. In the case of mercurian meteorites, this possibility is further supported by dynamical calculations that suggest mercurian meteorites should be present on Earth at a factor of 2-3 less than meteorites from Mars [1]. In the present study, we focus on the putative mineralogy of mercurian meteorites using data obtained from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, which has provided us with our first quantitative constraints on the geochemistry of planet Mercury. We have used the MESSENGER data to compile a list of mineralogical and geochemical characteristics that a meteorite from Mercury is likely to exhibit.

  3. The Kepler Mission: A Search for Terrestrial Planets - Development Status

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koch, David; Borucki, W.; Mayer, D.; Caldwell, D.; Jenkens, J.; Dunham, E.; Geary, J.; Bachtell, E.; Deininger, W.; Philbrick, R.

    2003-01-01

    We have embarked on a mission to detect terrestrial planets. The space mission has been optimized to search for earth-size planets (0.5 to 10 earth masses) in the habitable zone (HZ) of solar-like stars. Given this design, the mission will necessarily be capable of not only detecting Earth analogs, but a wide range of planetary types and characteristics ranging from Mercury-size objects with orbital periods of days to gas-giants in decade long orbits that have undeniable signatures even with only one transit detected. The mission is designed to survey the full range of spectral-type dwarf stars. The approach is to detect the periodic signal of transiting planets. Three or more transits of a star exceeding a combined threshold of eight sigma with a statistically consistent period, brightness change and duration provide a rigorous method of detection. From the relative brightness change the planet size can be calculated. From the period the orbital size can be calculated and its location relative to the HZ determined. Presented here are: the mission goals, the top level system design requirements derived from these goals that drive the flight system design, a number of the trades that have lead to the mission concept, expected photometric performance dependence on stellar brightness and spectral type based on the system 'noise tree' analysis. Updated estimates are presented of the numbers of detectable planets versus size, orbit, stellar spectral type and distances based on a planet frequency hypothesis. The current project schedule and organization are given.

  4. Kepler planet-detection mission

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Borucki...[], William J.; Koch, David; Buchhave, Lars C. Astrup

    2010-01-01

    The Kepler mission was designed to determine the frequency of Earth-sized planets in and near the habitable zone of Sun-like stars. The habitable zone is the region where planetary temperatures are suitable for water to exist on a planet’s surface. During the first 6 weeks of observations, Kepler...... is one of the lowest-density planets (~0.17 gram per cubic centimeter) yet detected. Kepler-5b, -6b, and -8b confirm the existence of planets with densities lower than those predicted for gas giant planets....

  5. Intentional intravenous mercury injection

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    In this case report, intravenous complications, treatment strategies and possible ... Mercury toxicity is commonly associated with vapour inhalation or oral ingestion, for which there exist definite treatment options. Intravenous mercury ... personality, anxiousness, irritability, insomnia, depression and drowsi- ness.[1] However ...

  6. International mercury conference

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Leaner, J

    2006-10-01

    Full Text Available Mercury (Hg) affects human health and the environment, it calls for immediate action. Action is needed at local, regional and international level to reduce the risk associated with mercury, which is a global international problem, as it is a...

  7. Global Mercury Assessment 2013

    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Digital Library (Canada)

    mercury pollution. This summary report and the accompanying. Technical Background Report for the Global. Mercury Assessment 2013 are developed in response to Decision 25/5, paragraph ... The use of different pollution control technologies in different ...... vegetation, snow, freshwater, and seawater. One of the largest ...

  8. Mercury's Atmosphere and Magnetosphere: MESSENGER Third Flyby Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A.; Anderson, Brian J.; Baker, Daniel N.; Benna, Mehdi; Johnson, Catherine L.; Gloeckler, George; Killen, Rosemary M.; Krimigis, Stamatios M.; McClintock, William; McNutt, Ralph L., Jr.; hide

    2009-01-01

    MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury en route to orbit insertion about the innermost planet took place on 29 September 2009. The earlier 14 January and 6 October 2008 encounters revealed that Mercury's magnetic field is highly dipolar and stable over the 35 years since its discovery by Mariner 10; that a structured, temporally variable exosphere extends to great altitudes on the dayside and forms a long tail in the anti-sunward direction; a cloud of planetary ions encompasses the magnetosphere from the dayside bow shock to the downstream magnetosheath and magnetotail; and that the magnetosphere undergoes extremely intense magnetic reconnect ion in response to variations in the interplanetary magnetic field. Here we report on new results derived from observations from MESSENGER's Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS), Magnetometer (MAG), and Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer (EPPS) taken during the third flyby.

  9. Insights into Mercury's Core Evolution from the Thermodynamic Properties of Fe-S-Si

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgington, A.; Vocadlo, L.; Stixrude, L. P.; Wood, I. G.; Lord, O. T.

    2015-12-01

    The structure, composition and evolution of Mercury, the innermost planet, are puzzling, as its high uncompressed density implies a body highly enriched in metallic iron, whilst the existence of Mercury's magnetic field and observations of its longitude librations [1] suggest at least a partially molten core. This study uses a combination of experimental and ab-initio computer simulation techniques to determine the properties of Fe-S-Si (relative atomic percentages, 80:10:10) throughout the conditions of the interior of the planet Mercury, and evaluates the implications of this material for the structure and evolution of the planet's core. Previous studies have considered the addition of sulphur to the pure iron system, as this can significantly depress the melting curve of iron, and so may possibly allow Mercury's core to remain molten to the present day [2]. However, important constraints placed by the MESSENGER spacecraft on Mercury's surface abundance of iron [3] suggest that the planet formed in highly reduced conditions, in which significant amounts of silicon could have also dissolved into the core [4]. First-principles molecular dynamics simulations of the thermodynamic properties of liquid Fe-S-Si, alongside laser-heated diamond-anvil-cell experiments to determine the melting behaviour of the same composition, reveal the slopes of the adiabatic gradient and melting curve respectively, which together may allow insight into the evolution of our solar system's smallest planet. [1] Margot, J. L. et al. (2007) Science, 316: 710-714[2] Schubert, G. et al. (1988) in 'Mercury' 429-460[3] Nittler, L. R. et al. (2011) Science, 333, 1847-1850[4] Malavergne, V. et al. (2010) Icarus, 206:199-209

  10. Constraints on particle density evolution within a CME at Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Exner, W.; Liuzzo, L.; Heyner, D.; Feyerabend, M.; Motschmann, U. M.; Glassmeier, K. H.; Shiota, D.; Kusano, K.

    2017-12-01

    Mercury (RM=2440) is the closest orbiting planet around the Sun and is embedded in an intensive and highly varying solar wind.Mercury's intrinsic dipole with a southward magnetic moment is aligned with the rotation axis and has a northward offset of 0.2 RM.In-situ data from the MESSENGER spacecraft of the magnetic environment near Mercury indicate that a coronal mass ejection (CME) passed the planet on 8 May 2012. The data constrain the direction and magnitude of the CME magnetic field but no information on its particle density could be determined.We apply the hybrid (kinetic ions, electron fluid) code A.I.K.E.F. to study the interaction of Mercury's magnetosphere with the CME.We use MESSENGER magnetic field observations as well as simulation results to constrain the evolution of the particle density inside the CME.We show that within a 24-hour period the particle density within the CME had to vary between 1-100 cm-3 in order to explain MESSENGER magnetic field observations.

  11. Municipal actions to reduce mercury

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2005-03-15

    This paper presented proper management practices for products containing mercury. The measures can help reduce mercury releases, occupational exposure and mercury spills, thereby preventing impacts on human health and the environment. Despite mercury's toxic nature, many common products that contain mercury are commercially available. These include thermostats, thermometers, fluorescent lamps, pressure measuring devices, electrical switches and relays, and dental amalgam. Mercury emissions are also associated with base metal smelting, waste incineration and coal-fired power generation. Mercury in the environment is a global issue, because it can travel in the atmosphere on wind currents. The actions taken by municipalities to address the issue include reducing or eliminating mercury releases from internal municipal operations and sources within the community. This document provided guidance on how to develop a Municipal Mercury Elimination Policy and Plan that will help reduce mercury releases. It presented information and case studies that will help municipalities manage mercury-containing products found in municipal buildings and street lighting. Information on sources of mercury from within the community was presented along with case studies that can help municipalities determine where community action is needed to reduce mercury releases. The 5 modules of this document were intended to help municipalities identify priorities, timelines and budget requirements for mercury initiatives. It was emphasized that municipalities that adopt a Municipal Mercury Elimination Policy and Plan formally commit to reducing and eliminating mercury from the environment. tabs., figs.

  12. Getting Mercury out of Schools.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999

    This guide was prepared while working with many Massachusetts schools to remove items that contain mercury and to find suitable alternatives. It contains fact sheets on: mercury in science laboratories and classrooms, mercury in school buildings and maintenance areas, mercury in the medical office and in medical technology classrooms in vocational…

  13. MESSENGER Observations of Magnetic Reconnection in Mercury's Magnetosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin. James A.

    2009-01-01

    During MESSENGER'S second flyby of Mercury on October 6,2008, very intense reconnection was observed between the planet's magnetic field and a steady southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The dawn magnetopause was threaded by a strong magnetic field normal to its surface, approx.14 nT, that implies a rate of reconnection approx.10 times the typical rate at Earth and a cross-magnetospheric electric potential drop of approx.30 kV. The highest magnetic field observed during this second flyby, approx.160 nT, was found at the core of a large dayside flux transfer event (FTE). This FTE is estimated to contain magnetic flux equal to approx.5% that of Mercury's magnetic tail or approximately one order of magnitude higher fraction of the tail flux than is typically found for FTEs at Earth. Plasmoid and traveling compression region (TCR) signatures were observed throughout MESSENGER'S traversal of Mercury's magnetotail with a repetition rate comparable to the Dungey cycle time of approx.2 min. The TCR signatures changed from south-north, indicating tailward motion, to north-south, indicating sunward motion, at a distance approx.2.6 RM (where RM is Mercury's radius) behind the terminator indicating that the near-Mercury magnetotail neutral line was crossed at that point. Overall, these new MESSENGER observations suggest that magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause is very intense relative to what is found at Earth and other planets, while reconnection in Mercury's tail is similar to that in other planetary magnetospheres, but with a very short Dungey cycle time.

  14. Thermal expansion and thermal stress in the moon and terrestrial planets - Clues to early thermal history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solomon, S. C.; Chaiken, J.

    1976-01-01

    The paper discusses how features of the surface geology of the moon and also Mars and Mercury impose constraints on the volumetric expansion or contraction of a planet and consequently provide a test of thermal history models. The moon has changed very little in volume over the last 3.8 b.y. Thermal models satisfying this constraint involve early heating and perhaps melting of the outer 200 km of the moon and an initially cold interior. Mercury has contracted by about 2 km in radius since emplacement of its present surface, so core formation must predate that surface. A hot initial temperature distribution is implied.

  15. Shallow basins on Mercury: Evidence of relaxation?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohit, P. Surdas; Johnson, Catherine L.; Barnouin-Jha, Olivier; Zuber, Maria T.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2009-08-01

    Stereo-derived topographic models have shown that the impact basins Beethoven and Tolstoj on Mercury are shallow for their size, with depths of 2.5 and 2 (± 0.7) km, respectively, while Caloris basin has been estimated to be 9 (± 3) km deep on the basis of photoclinometric measurements. We evaluate the depths of Beethoven and Tolstoj in the context of comparable basins on other planets and smaller craters on Mercury, using data from Mariner 10 and the first flyby of the MESSENGER spacecraft. We consider three scenarios that might explain the anomalous depths of these basins: (1) volcanic infilling, (2) complete crustal excavation, and (3) viscoelastic relaxation. None of these can be ruled out, but the fill scenario would imply a thick lithosphere early in Mercury's history and the crustal-excavation scenario a pre-impact crustal thickness of 15-55 km, depending on the density of the crust, in the area of Beethoven and Tolstoj. The potential for viscous relaxation of Beethoven, Tolstoj, and Caloris is explored with a viscoelastic model. Results show that relaxation of these basins could occur at plausible heat flux values for a range of crustal thicknesses. However, the amplitude of current topographic relief points to a crustal thickness of at least 60 km under this hypothesis. Relaxation of Caloris may have occurred if the floor is underlain by crust at least 20 km thick. We discuss future observations by MESSENGER that should distinguish among these scenarios.

  16. Darkening of Mercury's surface by cometary carbon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Syal, Megan Bruck; Schultz, Peter H.; Riner, Miriam A.

    2015-05-01

    Mercury’s surface is darker than that of the Moon. Iron-bearing minerals and submicroscopic metallic iron produced by space weathering are the primary known darkening materials on airless bodies. Yet Mercury’s iron abundance at the surface is lower than the Moon’s; another material is therefore likely to be responsible for Mercury’s dark surface. Enhanced darkening by submicroscopic metallic iron particles under intense space weathering at Mercury’s surface is insufficient to reconcile the planet’s low reflectance with its low iron abundance. Here we show that the delivery of cometary carbon by micrometeorites provides a mechanism to darken Mercury’s surface without violating observational constraints on iron content. We calculate the micrometeorite flux at Mercury and numerically simulate the fraction of carbonaceous material retained by the planet following micrometeorite impacts. We estimate that 50 times as many carbon-rich micrometeorites per unit surface area are delivered to Mercury, compared with the Moon, resulting in approximately 3-6 wt% carbon at Mercury’s surface (in graphite, amorphous, or nanodiamond form). Spectroscopic analysis of products of hypervelocity impact experiments demonstrates that the incorporation of carbon effectively darkens and weakens spectral features, consistent with remote observations of Mercury. Carbon delivery by micrometeorites provides an explanation for Mercury’s globally low reflectance and may contribute to the darkening of planetary surfaces elsewhere.

  17. Mercury's Interior from MESSENGER Radio Science Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Genova, A.; Mazarico, E.; Goossens, S. J.; Lemoine, F. G.; Neumann, G. A.; Smith, D. E.; Zuber, M. T.

    2017-12-01

    The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft provided precise radio tracking data in orbit about Mercury for more than 4 years, from March 2011 to April 2015. These geodetic measurements enable us to investigate the interior structure of the planet from the inner core to the crust. The first three years of radio data allowed us to determine the gravity field of Mercury with a resolution of 150 km in the northern hemisphere (degree and order 50 in spherical harmonics) since the periapsis was located at higher latitudes (>65˚N) and 200-500 km altitudes. The comparison of this gravity solution with Mercury's topography, which was retrieved by using over 25 million individual measurements of the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), resulted in a preliminary map of the crustal thickness of the planet. However, those results were limited by the resolution of the gravity field since the topography was defined in spherical harmonics up to degree and order 125. The last year of the MESSENGER extended mission was dedicated to a low-altitude campaign, where the spacecraft periapsis was maintained at altitudes between 25 and 100 km. The radio data collected during this mission phase allowed us to significantly improve the resolution of the gravity field locally in the northern hemisphere up to degree and order 100 in spherical harmonics. We present the gravity anomalies and crustal thickness maps that lead to a better understanding on the formation and evolution of specific regions. We present our estimated orientation model, which slightly differs from the solutions that were obtained by using Earth-based radar measurements and the co-registration of MESSENGER imaging and altimetry data. These previous estimates provide a direct measurement of the surface response, whereas the orientation model from gravity is more sensitive to the inner and outer core. A discrepancy between core and surface obliquities may provide fundamental

  18. Inside-out planet formation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chatterjee, Sourav; Tan, Jonathan C.

    2014-01-01

    The compact multi-transiting planet systems discovered by Kepler challenge planet formation theories. Formation in situ from disks with radial mass surface density, Σ, profiles similar to the minimum mass solar nebula but boosted in normalization by factors ≳ 10 has been suggested. We propose that a more natural way to create these planets in the inner disk is formation sequentially from the inside-out via creation of successive gravitationally unstable rings fed from a continuous stream of small (∼cm-m size) 'pebbles', drifting inward via gas drag. Pebbles collect at the pressure maximum associated with the transition from a magnetorotational instability (MRI)-inactive ('dead zone') region to an inner MRI-active zone. A pebble ring builds up until it either becomes gravitationally unstable to form an ∼1 M ⊕ planet directly or induces gradual planet formation via core accretion. The planet may undergo Type I migration into the active region, allowing a new pebble ring and planet to form behind it. Alternatively, if migration is inefficient, the planet may continue to accrete from the disk until it becomes massive enough to isolate itself from the accretion flow. A variety of densities may result depending on the relative importance of residual gas accretion as the planet approaches its isolation mass. The process can repeat with a new pebble ring gathering at the new pressure maximum associated with the retreating dead-zone boundary. Our simple analytical model for this scenario of inside-out planet formation yields planetary masses, relative mass scalings with orbital radius, and minimum orbital separations consistent with those seen by Kepler. It provides an explanation of how massive planets can form with tightly packed and well-aligned system architectures, starting from typical protoplanetary disk properties.

  19. From stars to planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gazzano, Jean-Christophe; Deleuil, Magali; De Laverny, Patrick; Blanco, Alejandra Recio; Bouchy, François; Gandolfi, Davide; Loeillet, Benoît

    2009-02-01

    A large program of multi-fibre (FLAMES) spectroscopic observations of the stellar population in two CoRoT/Exoplanet field with the GIRAFFE/VLT, took place in spring 2008. It aims at characterizing the brightest dwarf population and providing the ground for statistical analysis of the planetary population found by CoRoT. To perform such an ambitious analysis, we use an automated software based on the MATISSE algorithm, originally designed for the GAIA/RVS spectral analysis. This software derives the atmospheric stellar parameters: effective temperature, surface gravity and the overall metallicity. Further improvements are foreseen in order to measure also individual abundances. By comparing the main physical and chemical properties of the host stars to those of the stellar population they belong to, this will bring new insights into the formation and evolution of exoplanetary systems and the star-planet connection.

  20. Sizing up the planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meszaros, S. P.

    1985-05-01

    Visual, scaled comparisons are made among prominent volcanic, tectonic, crater and impact basin features photographed on various planets and moons in the solar system. The volcanic formation Olympus Mons, on Mars, is 27 km tall, while Io volcanic plumes reach 200-300 km altitude. Valles Marineris, a tectonic fault on Mars, is several thousand kilometers long, and the Ithasa Chasma on the Saturnian moon Tethys extends two-thirds the circumference of the moon. Craters on the Saturnian moons Tethys and Mimas are large enough to suggest a collision by objects which almost shattered the planetoids. Large meteorite impacts may leave large impact basins or merely ripples, such as found on Callisto, whose icy surface could not support high mountains formed by giant body impacts.

  1. Pluto: The Farthest Planet (Usually).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Universe in the Classroom, 1988

    1988-01-01

    Provides background information about the planet Pluto. Includes the history of Pluto and discusses some of the common misconceptions about the planets. Addresses some of the recent discoveries about Pluto and contains a resource list of books, articles, and a videotape. (TW)

  2. The Mass Function of Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malhotra, Renu

    2017-06-01

    The distribution of orbital period ratios of adjacent planets in extrasolar planetary systems discovered by the Kepler space telescope exhibits a peak near 1.5-2, a long tail of larger period ratios, and a steep drop-off in the number of systems with period ratios below 1.5. We find from these data that the dimensionless orbital separations have an approximately log-normal distribution. Using Hill’s criterion for the dynamical stability of two planets, we find that the upper bound on the most common planet-to-star mass ratio is 10-3.2m*, about two-thirds of the mass of Jupiter orbiting solar mass stars. Assuming that the mass ratio and the dynamical separation of adjacent planets are independent random variates, and adopting empirical distributions for these, we calculate the planet mass distribution function from the observed distribution of orbital period ratios. We find that the planet mass function is a rolling power law, steeper at higher mass, with an index of approximately -1.2 near jovian planet masses and a shallower index of approximately -0.6 near terrestrial planet masses.We are grateful for research funding from NSF (grant AST-1312498) and NASA (grant NNX14AG93G).

  3. The fate of scattered planets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bromley, Benjamin C. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Utah, 115 S 1400 E, Rm 201, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 (United States); Kenyon, Scott J., E-mail: bromley@physics.utah.edu, E-mail: skenyon@cfa.harvard.edu [Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)

    2014-12-01

    As gas giant planets evolve, they may scatter other planets far from their original orbits to produce hot Jupiters or rogue planets that are not gravitationally bound to any star. Here, we consider planets cast out to large orbital distances on eccentric, bound orbits through a gaseous disk. With simple numerical models, we show that super-Earths can interact with the gas through dynamical friction to settle in the remote outer regions of a planetary system. Outcomes depend on planet mass, the initial scattered orbit, and the evolution of the time-dependent disk. Efficient orbital damping by dynamical friction requires planets at least as massive as the Earth. More massive, longer-lived disks damp eccentricities more efficiently than less massive, short-lived ones. Transition disks with an expanding inner cavity can circularize orbits at larger distances than disks that experience a global (homologous) decay in surface density. Thus, orbits of remote planets may reveal the evolutionary history of their primordial gas disks. A remote planet with an orbital distance ∼100 AU from the Sun is plausible and might explain correlations in the orbital parameters of several distant trans-Neptunian objects.

  4. Origins and Destinations: Tracking Planet Composition through Planet Formation Simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chance, Quadry; Ballard, Sarah

    2018-01-01

    There are now several thousand confirmed exoplanets, a number which far exceeds our resources to study them all in detail. In particular, planets around M dwarfs provide the best opportunity for in-depth study of their atmospheres by telescopes in the near future. The question of which M dwarf planets most merit follow-up resources is a pressing one, given that NASA’s TESS mission will soon find hundreds of such planets orbiting stars bright enough for both ground and spaced-based follow-up.Our work aims to predict the approximate composition of planets around these stars through n-body simulations of the last stage of planet formation. With a variety of initial disk conditions, we investigate how the relative abundances of both refractory and volatile compounds in the primordial planetesimals are mapped to the final planet outcomes. These predictions can serve to provide a basis for making an educated guess about (a) which planets to observe with precious resources like JWST and (b) how to identify them based on dynamical clues.

  5. Inorganic: the other mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Risher, John F; De Rosa, Christopher T

    2007-11-01

    There is a broad array of mercury species to which humans may be exposed. While exposure to methylmercury through fish consumption is widely recognized, the public is less aware of the sources and potential toxicity of inorganic forms of mercury. Some oral and laboratory thermometers, barometers, small batteries, thermostats, gas pressure regulators, light switches, dental amalgam fillings, cosmetic products, medications, cultural/religious practices, and gold mining all represent potential sources of exposure to inorganic forms of mercury. The route of exposure, the extent of absorption, the pharmacokinetics, and the effects all vary with the specific form of mercury and the magnitude and duration of exposure. If exposure is suspected, a number of tissue analyses can be conducted to confirm exposure or to determine whether an exposure might reasonably be expected to be biologically significant. By contrast with determination of exposure to methylmercury, for which hair and blood are credible indicators, urine is the preferred biological medium for the determination of exposure to inorganic mercury, including elemental mercury, with blood normally being of value only if exposure is ongoing. Although treatments are available to help rid the body of mercury in cases of extreme exposure, prevention of exposure will make such treatments unnecessary. Knowing the sources of mercury and avoiding unnecessary exposure are the prudent ways of preventing mercury intoxication. When exposure occurs, it should be kept in mind that not all unwanted exposures will result in adverse health consequences. In all cases, elimination of the source of exposure should be the first priority of public health officials.

  6. THE FIRST PLANETS: THE CRITICAL METALLICITY FOR PLANET FORMATION

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnson, Jarrett L.; Li Hui

    2012-01-01

    A rapidly growing body of observational results suggests that planet formation takes place preferentially at high metallicity. In the core accretion model of planet formation this is expected because heavy elements are needed to form the dust grains which settle into the midplane of the protoplanetary disk and coagulate to form the planetesimals from which planetary cores are assembled. As well, there is observational evidence that the lifetimes of circumstellar disks are shorter at lower metallicities, likely due to greater susceptibility to photoevaporation. Here we estimate the minimum metallicity for planet formation, by comparing the timescale for dust grain growth and settling to that for disk photoevaporation. For a wide range of circumstellar disk models and dust grain properties, we find that the critical metallicity above which planets can form is a function of the distance r at which the planet orbits its host star. With the iron abundance relative to that of the Sun [Fe/H] as a proxy for the metallicity, we estimate a lower limit for the critical abundance for planet formation of [Fe/H] crit ≅ –1.5 + log (r/1 AU), where an astronomical unit (AU) is the distance between the Earth and the Sun. This prediction is in agreement with the available observational data, and carries implications for the properties of the first planets and for the emergence of life in the early universe. In particular, it implies that the first Earth-like planets likely formed from circumstellar disks with metallicities Z ∼> 0.1 Z ☉ . If planets are found to orbit stars with metallicities below the critical metallicity, this may be a strong challenge to the core accretion model.

  7. Predicting the Atmospheric Composition of Extrasolar Giant Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharp, A. G.; Moses, J. I.; Friedson, A. J.; Fegley, B., Jr.; Marley, M. S.; Lodders, K.

    2004-01-01

    To date, approximately 120 planet-sized objects have been discovered around other stars, mostly through the radial-velocity technique. This technique can provide information about a planet s minimum mass and its orbital period and distance; however, few other planetary data can be obtained at this point in time unless we are fortunate enough to find an extrasolar giant planet that transits its parent star (i.e., the orbit is edge-on as seen from Earth). In that situation, many physical properties of the planet and its parent star can be determined, including some compositional information. Our prospects of directly obtaining spectra from extrasolar planets may improve in the near future, through missions like NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder. Most of the extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) discovered so far have masses equal to or greater than Jupiter's mass, and roughly 16% have orbital radii less than 0.1 AU - extremely close to the parent star by our own Solar-System standards (note that Mercury is located at a mean distance of 0.39 AU and Jupiter at 5.2 AU from the Sun). Although all EGPs are expected to have hydrogen-dominated atmospheres similar to Jupiter, the orbital distance can strongly affect the planet's temperature, physical, chemical, and spectral properties, and the abundance of minor, detectable atmospheric constituents. Thermochemical equilibrium models can provide good zero-order predictions for the atmospheric composition of EGPs. However, both the composition and spectral properties will depend in large part on disequilibrium processes like photochemistry, chemical kinetics, atmospheric transport, and haze formation. We have developed a photochemical kinetics, radiative transfer, and 1-D vertical transport model to study the atmospheric composition of EGPs. The chemical reaction list contains H-, C-, O-, and N-bearing species and is designed to be valid for atmospheric temperatures ranging from 100-3000 K and pressures up to 50 bar. Here we examine

  8. KOI-3158: The oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Campante T. L.

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The first discoveries of exoplanets around Sun-like stars have fueled efforts to find ever smaller worlds evocative of Earth and other terrestrial planets in the Solar System. While gas-giant planets appear to form preferentially around metal-rich stars, small planets (with radii less than four Earth radii can form under a wide range of metallicities. This implies that small, including Earth-size, planets may have readily formed at earlier epochs in the Universe’s history when metals were far less abundant. We report Kepler spacecraft observations of KOI-3158, a metal-poor Sun-like star from the old population of the Galactic thick disk, which hosts five planets with sizes between Mercury and Venus. We used asteroseismology to directly measure a precise age of 11.2 ± 1.0 Gyr for the host star, indicating that KOI-3158 formed when the Universe was less than 20 % of its current age and making it the oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets. We thus show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the Universe’s 13.8-billion-year history, providing scope for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy.

  9. Gravity Field and Internal Structure of Mercury from MESSENGER

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, David E.; Zuber, Maria T.; Phillips, Roger J.; Solomon, Sean C.; Hauck, Steven A., II; Lemoine, Frank G.; Mazarico, Erwan; Neumann, Gregory A.; Peale, Stanton J.; Margot, Jean-Luc; hide

    2012-01-01

    Radio tracking of the MESSENGER spacecraft has provided a model of Mercury's gravity field. In the northern hemisphere, several large gravity anomalies, including candidate mass concentrations (mascons), exceed 100 milli-Galileos (mgal). Mercury's northern hemisphere crust is thicker at low latitudes and thinner in the polar region and shows evidence for thinning beneath some impact basins. The low-degree gravity field, combined with planetary spin parameters, yields the moment of inertia C/M(R(exp 2) = 0.353 +/- 0.017, where M and R are Mercury's mass and radius, and a ratio of the moment of inertia of Mercury's solid outer shell to that of the planet of C(sub m)/C = 0.452 +/- 0.035. A model for Mercury s radial density distribution consistent with these results includes a solid silicate crust and mantle overlying a solid iron-sulfide layer and an iron-rich liquid outer core and perhaps a solid inner core.

  10. Recovery of mercury from mercury compounds via electrolytic methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grossman, Mark W.; George, William A.

    1988-01-01

    A process for electrolytically recovering mercury from mercury compounds is provided. In one embodiment, Hg is recovered from Hg.sub.2 Cl.sub.2 employing as the electrolyte solution a mixture of HCl and H.sub.2 O. In another embodiment, Hg is electrolytically recovered from HgO wherein the electrolyte solution is comprised of glacial acetic acid and H.sub.2 O. Also provided is an apparatus for producing isotopically enriched mercury compounds in a reactor and then transporting the dissolved compounds into an electrolytic cell where mercury ions are electrolytically reduced and elemental mercury recovered from the mercury compounds.

  11. Planets to Cosmology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Livio, Mario; Casertano, Stefano

    2011-11-01

    Preface; 1. Hubble's view of transiting planets D. Charbonneau; 2. Unsolved problems in star formation C. J. Clarke; 3. Star formation in clusters S. S. Larson; 4. HST abundance studies of low metallicity stars J. W. Truran, C. Sneden, F. Primas, J. J. Cowan and T. Beers; 5. Physical environments and feedback: HST studies of intense star-forming environments J. S. Gallagher, L. J. Smith and R. W. O'Connell; 6. Quasar hosts: growing up with monstrous middles K. K. McLeod; 7. Reverberation mapping of active galactic nuclei B. M. Peterson and K. Horne; 8. Feedback at high redshift A. E. Shapley; 9. The baryon content of the local intergalactic medium J. T. Stocke, J. M. Shull, and S. V. Penton; 10. Hot baryons in supercluster filaments E. D. Miller, R. A. Dupke and J. N. Bregman; 11. Galaxy assembly E. F. Bell; 12. Probing the reionization history of the Universe Z. Haiman; 13. Studying distant infrared-luminous galaxies with Spitzer and Hubble C. Papovich, E. Egami, E. Le Floc'h, P. Pérez-González, G. Rieke, J. Rigby, H. Dole and M. Reike; 14. Galaxies at z = g-i'-drop selection and the GLARE Project E. R. Stanway, K. Glazebrook, A. J. Bunker and the GLARE Consortium; 15. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field with NIMCOS R. I. Thompson, R. J. Bouwens and G. Illingworth.

  12. The major-element composition of Mercury's surface from MESSENGER X-ray spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nittler, Larry R; Starr, Richard D; Weider, Shoshana Z; McCoy, Timothy J; Boynton, William V; Ebel, Denton S; Ernst, Carolyn M; Evans, Larry G; Goldsten, John O; Hamara, David K; Lawrence, David J; McNutt, Ralph L; Schlemm, Charles E; Solomon, Sean C; Sprague, Ann L

    2011-09-30

    X-ray fluorescence spectra obtained by the MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury indicate that the planet's surface differs in composition from those of other terrestrial planets. Relatively high Mg/Si and low Al/Si and Ca/Si ratios rule out a lunarlike feldspar-rich crust. The sulfur abundance is at least 10 times higher than that of the silicate portion of Earth or the Moon, and this observation, together with a low surface Fe abundance, supports the view that Mercury formed from highly reduced precursor materials, perhaps akin to enstatite chondrite meteorites or anhydrous cometary dust particles. Low Fe and Ti abundances do not support the proposal that opaque oxides of these elements contribute substantially to Mercury's low and variable surface reflectance.

  13. Evidence for young volcanism on Mercury from the third MESSENGER flyby.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prockter, Louise M; Ernst, Carolyn M; Denevi, Brett W; Chapman, Clark R; Head, James W; Fassett, Caleb I; Merline, William J; Solomon, Sean C; Watters, Thomas R; Strom, Robert G; Cremonese, Gabriele; Marchi, Simone; Massironi, Matteo

    2010-08-06

    During its first two flybys of Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft acquired images confirming that pervasive volcanism occurred early in the planet's history. MESSENGER's third Mercury flyby revealed a 290-kilometer-diameter peak-ring impact basin, among the youngest basins yet seen, having an inner floor filled with spectrally distinct smooth plains. These plains are sparsely cratered, postdate the formation of the basin, apparently formed from material that once flowed across the surface, and are therefore interpreted to be volcanic in origin. An irregular depression surrounded by a halo of bright deposits northeast of the basin marks a candidate explosive volcanic vent larger than any previously identified on Mercury. Volcanism on the planet thus spanned a considerable duration, perhaps extending well into the second half of solar system history.

  14. Secular chaos and its application to Mercury, hot Jupiters, and the organization of planetary systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lithwick, Yoram; Wu, Yanqin

    2014-09-02

    In the inner solar system, the planets' orbits evolve chaotically, driven primarily by secular chaos. Mercury has a particularly chaotic orbit and is in danger of being lost within a few billion years. Just as secular chaos is reorganizing the solar system today, so it has likely helped organize it in the past. We suggest that extrasolar planetary systems are also organized to a large extent by secular chaos. A hot Jupiter could be the end state of a secularly chaotic planetary system reminiscent of the solar system. However, in the case of the hot Jupiter, the innermost planet was Jupiter (rather than Mercury) sized, and its chaotic evolution was terminated when it was tidally captured by its star. In this contribution, we review our recent work elucidating the physics of secular chaos and applying it to Mercury and to hot Jupiters. We also present results comparing the inclinations of hot Jupiters thus produced with observations.

  15. Mercury CEM Calibration

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    John F. Schabron; Joseph F. Rovani; Susan S. Sorini

    2007-03-31

    The Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) which was published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2005, requires that calibration of mercury continuous emissions monitors (CEMs) be performed with NIST-traceable standards. Western Research Institute (WRI) is working closely with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate the development of the experimental criteria for a NIST traceability protocol for dynamic elemental mercury vapor generators. The traceability protocol will be written by EPA. Traceability will be based on the actual analysis of the output of each calibration unit at several concentration levels ranging from about 2-40 ug/m{sup 3}, and this analysis will be directly traceable to analyses by NIST using isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ID ICP/MS) through a chain of analyses linking the calibration unit in the power plant to the NIST ID ICP/MS. Prior to this project, NIST did not provide a recommended mercury vapor pressure equation or list mercury vapor pressure in its vapor pressure database. The NIST Physical and Chemical Properties Division in Boulder, Colorado was subcontracted under this project to study the issue in detail and to recommend a mercury vapor pressure equation that the vendors of mercury vapor pressure calibration units can use to calculate the elemental mercury vapor concentration in an equilibrium chamber at a particular temperature. As part of this study, a preliminary evaluation of calibration units from five vendors was made. The work was performed by NIST in Gaithersburg, MD and Joe Rovani from WRI who traveled to NIST as a Visiting Scientist.

  16. Mercury in human hair

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kapauan, P.A.; Cruz, C.C.; Verceluz, F.P.

    1980-10-01

    The analysis of mercury (Hg) in scalp hair obtained from individuals residing in five different localities in the Philippines - Metro Manila, Naga City in Bicol, Bataan, Oriental Mindoro, and Palawan is presented. An overall mean of 1.46 ug/g of hair was obtained for all samples excluding those from Palawan and represents a baseline value.'' In terms of the mercury levels found in hair, the Honda Bay area in Palawan is, relatively, a ''contaminated area.'' (author)

  17. The thermal evolution of Mercury's Fe-Si core

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knibbe, Jurriën Sebastiaan; van Westrenen, Wim

    2018-01-01

    We have studied the thermal and magnetic field evolution of planet Mercury with a core of Fe-Si alloy to assess whether an Fe-Si core matches its present-day partially molten state, Mercury's magnetic field strength, and the observed ancient crustal magnetization. The main advantages of an Fe-Si core, opposed to a previously assumed Fe-S core, are that a Si-bearing core is consistent with the highly reduced nature of Mercury and that no compositional convection is generated upon core solidification, in agreement with magnetic field indications of a stable layer at the top of Mercury's core. This study also present the first implementation of a conductive temperature profile in the core where heat fluxes are sub-adiabatic in a global thermal evolution model. We show that heat migrates from the deep core to the outer part of the core as soon as heat fluxes at the outer core become sub-adiabatic. As a result, the deep core cools throughout Mercury's evolution independent of the temperature evolution at the core-mantle boundary, causing an early start of inner core solidification and magnetic field generation. The conductive layer at the outer core suppresses the rate of core growth after temperature differences between the deep and shallow core are relaxed, such that a magnetic field can be generated until the present. Also, the outer core and mantle operate at higher temperatures than previously thought, which prolongs mantle melting and mantle convection. The results indicate that S is not a necessary ingredient of Mercury's core, bringing bulk compositional models of Mercury more in line with reduced meteorite analogues.

  18. The Origin of the Compositional Diversity of Mercury's Surface Constrained From Experimental Melting of Enstatite Chondrites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boujibar, A.; Righter, K.; Pando, K.; Danielson, L.

    2015-01-01

    Mercury is known as an endmember planet as it is the most reduced terrestrial planet with the highest core/mantle ratio. MESSENGER spacecraft has shown that its surface is FeO-poor (2-4 wt%) and Srich (up to 6-7 wt%), which confirms the reducing nature of its silicate mantle. Moreover, high resolution images revealed large volcanic plains and abundant pyroclastic deposits, suggesting important melting stages of the Mercurian mantle. This interpretation was confirmed by the high crustal thickness (up to 100 km) derived from Mercury's gravity field. This is also corroborated by a recent experimental result that showed that Mercurian partial melts are expected to be highly buoyant within the Mercurian mantle and could have risen from depths as high as the core-mantle boundary. In addition MESSENGER spacecraft provided relatively precise data on major elemental compositions of Mercury's surface. These results revealed important chemical and mineralogical heterogeneities that suggested several stages of differentiation and re-melting processes. However, the extent and nature of compositional variations produced by partial melting remains poorly constrained for the particular compositions of Mercury (very reducing conditions, low FeO-contents and high sulfur-contents). Therefore, in this study, we investigated the processes that lead to the various compositions of Mercury's surface. Melting experiments with bulk Mercury-analogue compositions were performed and compared to the compositions measured by MESSENGER.

  19. Method and apparatus for monitoring mercury emissions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durham, Michael D.; Schlager, Richard J.; Sappey, Andrew D.; Sagan, Francis J.; Marmaro, Roger W.; Wilson, Kevin G.

    1997-01-01

    A mercury monitoring device that continuously monitors the total mercury concentration in a gas. The device uses the same chamber for converting speciated mercury into elemental mercury and for measurement of the mercury in the chamber by radiation absorption techniques. The interior of the chamber is resistant to the absorption of speciated and elemental mercury at the operating temperature of the chamber.

  20. Landslides on Earth, Mars, Moon and Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brunetti, Maria Teresa; Xiao, Zhiyong; Komatsu, Goro; Peruccacci, Silvia; Fiorucci, Federica; Cardinali, Mauro; Santangelo, Michele; Guzzetti, Fausto

    2015-04-01

    Landslides play an important role in the evolution of landscapes on Earth and on other solid planets of the Solar System. On Earth, landslides have been recognized in all continents, and in subaerial and submarine environments. The spatial and temporal range of the observed slope failures is extremely large on Earth. Surface gravity is the main factor driving landslides in solid planets. Comparison of landslide characteristics, e.g. the landslide types and sizes (area, volume, fall height, length) on various planetary bodies may help in understanding the effect of surface gravity on failure initiation and propagation. In the last decades, planetary exploration missions have delivered an increasing amount of high-resolution imagery, which enables to resolve and identify morphologic structures on planetary surfaces in great detail. Here, we present three geomorphological inventories of extraterrestrial landslides on Mars, Moon and Mercury. To recognize and map the landslides on the three Solar System bodies, we adopt the same visual criteria commonly used by geomorphologists to identify terrestrial slope failures in aerial photographs or satellite images. Landslides are classified based on the morphological similarity with terrestrial ones. In particular, we focus on rock slides mapped in Valles Marineris, Mars, and along the internal walls of impact craters on the Moon and Mercury. We exploit the three inventories to study the statistical distributions of the failure sizes (e.g., area, volume, fall height, length), and we compare the results with similar distributions obtained for terrestrial landslides. We obtain indications on the effect of the different surface gravity on landslides on Earth and Mars through the relationship between the landslide area and volume on the two planets. From the analysis of the area, we hypothesize that the lack of medium size landslides on Mars is due to the absence of erosive processes, which are induced on Earth chiefly by water

  1. MESSENGER observations of transient bursts of energetic electrons in Mercury's magnetosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ho, George C; Krimigis, Stamatios M; Gold, Robert E; Baker, Daniel N; Slavin, James A; Anderson, Brian J; Korth, Haje; Starr, Richard D; Lawrence, David J; McNutt, Ralph L; Solomon, Sean C

    2011-09-30

    The MESSENGER spacecraft began detecting energetic electrons with energies greater than 30 kilo-electron volts (keV) shortly after its insertion into orbit about Mercury. In contrast, no energetic protons were observed. The energetic electrons arrive as bursts lasting from seconds to hours and are most intense close to the planet, distributed in latitude from the equator to the north pole, and present at most local times. Energies can exceed 200 keV but often exhibit cutoffs near 100 keV. Angular distributions of the electrons about the magnetic field suggest that they do not execute complete drift paths around the planet. This set of characteristics demonstrates that Mercury's weak magnetic field does not support Van Allen-type radiation belts, unlike all other planets in the solar system with internal magnetic fields.

  2. Analytical theory of Mercury's rotation and reference planes

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Hoedt, Sandrine; Noyelles, Benoit; Dufey, Julien; Lemaitre, Anne

    The space missions to Mercury (Messenger or BepiColombo) will provide new data about the rotation of the planet, which should induce a much better knowledge of its internal structure. Besides huge numerical integrations, an efficient treatment of these data requires a complete analytical model of rotation for Mercury, which is nowadays inexistent. Our team is implicated in the BepiColombo mission through the MORE project (Mercury Orbiter Radio Science Experiment). In particular, our task is to provide such a model of rotation, to be able to identify the parameters with the data. Our starting point is to take an Hamiltonian theory of the 3 : 2 resonant rotation of Mercury (D'Hoedt and Lemaˆ ıtre, 2004). In this kernel model, Mercury is supposed to be rigid and its orbits is considered as keplerian. The theory is a 2 degree of freedom one, limited at the second order in spherical harmonics and averaged over the short periods. These short periods (the orbital one and the rotational one, resp. 88 and 58 days) can be added on the averaged model as perturbations. In the same way, we can include the very long periods (longitude of the ascending node and of the pericenter argument) as perturbations on our Hamiltonian. Another method to insert the influence of the other planets is to consider that the orbital elements are slowly varying with time. More over, thanks to the adiabatic invariant theory, Peale (2006) and D'Hoedt and Lemaˆ (2008) showed that, if the eccentricity and the orbital inclination ıtre are slow functions of time, the angular momentum axis stays closed to the Cassini equilibrium. The precise definition of the Cassini states refers to different planes : in particular, an orbital plane, linked to a mean orbit of Mercury and a Laplace plane (orthogonal to the axis around which Mercury's orbit is precessing with a constant inclination). This mean orbital plane is obtained by numerical integration of the motion, on which we perform a frequency analysis to

  3. Formation of giant planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Perri, F.

    1975-01-01

    When a planetary core composed of condensed matter is accumulated in the primitive solar nebula, the gas of the nebula becomes gravitationally concentrated as an envelope surrounding the planetary core. Models of such gaseous envelopes have been constructed subject to the assumption that the gas everywhere is on the same adiabat as that in the surrounding nebula. The gaseous envelope extends from the surface of the core to the distance at which the gravitational attraction of core plus envelope becomes equal to the gradient of the gravitational potential in the solar nebula; at this point the pressure and temperature of the gas in the envelope are required to attain the background values characteristic of the solar nebula. In general, as the mass of the condensed core increases, increasing amounts of gas became concentrated in the envelope, and these envelopes are stable against hydrodynamic instabilities. However, the core mass then goes through a maximum and starts to decrease. In most of the models tested the envelopes were hydrodynamically unstable beyond the peak in the core mass. An unstable situation was always created if it was insisted that the core mass contain a larger amount of matter than given by these solutions. For an initial adiabat characterized by a temperature of 450 0 K and a pressure of 5 x 10 -6 atmospheres, the maximum core mass at which instability occurs is approximately 115 earth masses. It is concluded that the giant planets obtained their large amounts of hydrogen and helium by a hydrodynamic collapse process in the solar nebula only after the nebula had been subjected to a considerable period of cooling

  4. Astrographic Positions of Minor Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naskrecki, W.; Swierkowska, S.

    The paper presents the photographic position of minor planets taken in the years 1986/1987 at the Astronomical Observatory of A. Mickiewicz University, Poznan, with an astrograph of the F=1500 mm, d=300 mm.

  5. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names

    CERN Document Server

    Schmadel, Lutz D

    2007-01-01

    Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Fifth Edition, is the official reference for the field of the IAU, which serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and any surface features on them. The accelerating rate of the discovery of minor planets has not only made a new edition of this established compendium necessary but has also significantly altered its scope: this thoroughly revised edition concentrates on the approximately 10,000 minor planets that carry a name. It provides authoritative information about the basis for all names of minor planets. In addition to being of practical value for identification purposes, this collection provides a most interesting historical insight into the work of those astronomers who over two centuries vested their affinities in a rich and colorful variety of ingenious names, from heavenly goddesses to more prosaic constructions. The fifth edition serves as the primary reference, with plans for complementary booklets with newl...

  6. Planets, stars and stellar systems

    CERN Document Server

    Bond, Howard; McLean, Ian; Barstow, Martin; Gilmore, Gerard; Keel, William; French, Linda

    2013-01-01

    This is volume 3 of Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems, a six-volume compendium of modern astronomical research covering subjects of key interest to the main fields of contemporary astronomy. This volume on “Solar and Stellar Planetary Systems” edited by Linda French and Paul Kalas presents accessible review chapters From Disks to Planets, Dynamical Evolution of Planetary Systems, The Terrestrial Planets, Gas and Ice Giant Interiors, Atmospheres of Jovian Planets, Planetary Magnetospheres, Planetary Rings, An Overview of the Asteroids and Meteorites, Dusty Planetary Systems and Exoplanet Detection Methods. All chapters of the handbook were written by practicing professionals. They include sufficient background material and references to the current literature to allow readers to learn enough about a specialty within astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology to get started on their own practical research projects. In the spirit of the series Stars and Stellar Systems published by Chicago University Press in...

  7. Water Loss from Young Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tian, Feng; Güdel, Manuel; Johnstone, Colin P.; Lammer, Helmut; Luger, Rodrigo; Odert, Petra

    2018-04-01

    Good progress has been made in the past few years to better understand the XUV evolution trend of Sun-like stars, the capture and dissipation of hydrogen dominant envelopes of planetary embryos and protoplanets, and water loss from young planets around M dwarfs. This chapter reviews these recent developments. Observations of exoplanets and theoretical works in the near future will significantly advance our understanding of one of the fundamental physical processes shaping the evolution of solar system terrestrial planets.

  8. Planet Hunters: Kepler by Eye

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwamb, Megan E.; Lintott, C.; Fischer, D.; Smith, A. M.; Boyajian, T. S.; Brewer, J. M.; Giguere, M. J.; Lynn, S.; Parrish, M.; Schawinski, K.; Schmitt, J.; Simpson, R.; Wang, J.

    2014-01-01

    Planet Hunters (http://www.planethunters.org), part of the Zooniverse's (http://www.zooniverse.org) collection of online citizen science projects, uses the World Wide Web to enlist the general public to identify transits in the pubic Kepler light curves. Planet Hunters utilizes human pattern recognition to identify planet transits that may be missed by automated detection algorithms looking for periodic events. Referred to as ‘crowdsourcing’ or ‘citizen science’, the combined assessment of many non-expert human classifiers with minimal training can often equal or best that of a trained expert and in many cases outperform the best machine-learning algorithm. Visitors to the Planet Hunters' website are presented with a randomly selected ~30-day light curve segment from one of Kepler’s ~160,000 target stars and are asked to draw boxes to mark the locations of visible transits in the web interface. 5-10 classifiers review each 30-day light curve segment. Since December 2010, more than 260,000 volunteers world wide have participated, contributing over 20 million classifications. We have demonstrated the success of a citizen science approach with the project’s more than 20 planet candidates, the discovery of PH1b, a transiting circumbinary planet in a quadruple star system, and the discovery of PH2-b, a confirmed Jupiter-sized planet in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. I will provide an overview of Planet Hunters, highlighting several of project's most recent exoplanet and astrophysical discoveries. Acknowledgements: MES was supported in part by a NSF AAPF under award AST-1003258 and a American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant. We acknowledge support from NASA ADAP12-0172 grant to PI Fischer.

  9. Mercury pollution in Malaysia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hajeb, Parvaneh; Jinap, S; Ismail, Ahmad; Mahyudin, Nor Ainy

    2012-01-01

    Although several studies have been published on levels of mercury contamination of the environment, and of food and human tissues in Peninsular Malaysia, there is a serious dearth of research that has been performed in East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak). Industry is rapidly developing in East Malaysia, and, hence, there is a need for establishing baseline levels of mercury contamination in environmental media in that part of the country by performing monitoring studies. Residues of total mercury and inorganic in food samples have been determined in nearly all previous studies that have been conducted; however, few researchers have analyzed samples for the presence of methlymercury residues. Because methylmercury is the most toxic form of mercury, and because there is a growing public awareness of the risk posed by methylmercury exposure that is associated with fish and seafood consumption, further monitoring studies on methylmercury in food are also essential. From the results of previous studies, it is obvious that the economic development in Malaysia, in recent years, has affected the aquatic environment of the country. Primary areas of environmental concern are centered on the rivers of the west Peninsular Malaysian coast, and the coastal waters of the Straits of Malacca, wherein industrial activities are rapidly expanding. The sources of existing mercury input to both of these areas of Malaysia should be studied and identified. Considering the high levels of mercury that now exists in human tissues, efforts should be continued, and accelerated in the future, if possible, to monitor mercury contamination levels in the coastal states, and particularly along the west Peninsular Malaysian coast. Most studies that have been carried out on mercury residues in environmental samples are dated, having been conducted 20-30 years ago; therefore, the need to collect much more and more current data is urgent. Furthermore, establishing baseline levels of mercury exposure to

  10. Fabrication of mercury target vessel

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wakui, Takashi; Kogawa, Hiroyuki; Haga, Katsuhiro; Futakawa, Masatoshi; Hayashi, Ryoichi; Uchiyama, Naoyoshi; Okamoto, Yoshinao; Nakamura, Koji

    2010-03-01

    The construction of materials and life science experimental facility in J-PARC (Japan Proton Accelerator Complex) project had been completed and accepted pulsed proton beams with low power. Since 2003, the detailed design, fabrication and examination for the mercury target vessel as a pulsed neutron source were carried out by the vender. The mercury target vessel consists of triple-walled structure in order to prevent the leak of mercury to outside at the failure of the mercury vessel and to remove the heat of the safety hull, which covers the mercury vessel, due to the injection of the pulsed proton beams. The high fabrication accuracy is required for the mercury target vessel assembled by the welding, because there are the relationships between the mercury target vessel and other components (target trolley, target storage container, flange of helium vessel, reflector and water-cooled shield). At each fabrication step, the examinations for the mercury target vessel with multi-walled structure were required. In this report, the required specification and basic structure of parts in the mercury target vessel are described and the fabrication procedure of the mercury target vessel by the vender is reported. In the fabrication of the mercury target vessel, there were many troubles such as large deformation due to the welding and then the vender repaired and brought the mercury target vessel to completion. Furthermore, improvements for the design and fabrication of the mercury target are reported. (author)

  11. Atmospheres of the Giant Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ingersoll, Andrew P.

    2002-01-01

    The giant planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are fluid objects. They have no solid surfaces because the light elements constituting them do not condense at solar-system temperatures. Instead, their deep atmospheres grade downward until the distinction between gas and liquid becomes meaningless. The preceding chapter delved into the hot, dark interiors of the Jovian planets. This one focuses on their atmospheres, especially the observable layers from the base of the clouds to the edge of space. These veneers arc only a few hundred kilometers thick, less than one percent of each planet's radius, but they exhibit an incredible variety of dynamic phenomena. The mixtures of elements in these outer layers resemble a cooled-down piece of the Sun. Clouds precipitate out of this gaseous soup in a variety of colors. The cloud patterns are organized by winds, which are powered by heat derived from sunlight (as on Earth) and by internal heat left over from planetary formation. Thus the atmospheres of the Jovian planets are distinctly different both compositionally and dynamically from those of the terrestrial planets. Such differences make them fascinating objects for study, providing clues about the origin and evolution of the planets and the formation of the solar system.

  12. Provenance of the terrestrial planets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wetherill, G W

    1994-01-01

    Earlier work on the simultaneous accumulation of the asteroid belt and the terrestrial planets is extended to investigate the relative contribution to the final planets made by material from different heliocentric distances. As before, stochastic variations intrinsic to the accumulation processes lead to a variety of final planetary configurations, but include systems having a number of features similar to our solar system. Fifty-nine new simulations are presented, from which thirteen are selected as more similar to our solar system than the others. It is found that the concept of "local feeding zones" for each final terrestrial planet has no validity for this model. Instead, the final terrestrial planets receive major contributions from bodies ranging from 0.5 to at least 2.5 AU, and often to greater distances. Nevertheless, there is a correlation between the final heliocentric distance of a planet and its average provenance. Together with the effect of stochastic fluctuations, this permits variation in the composition of the terrestrial planets, such as the difference in the decompressed density of Earth and Mars. Biologically important light elements, derived from the asteroidal region, are likely to have been significant constituents of the Earth during its formation.

  13. ISA - An Accelerometer to Detect the Disturbing Accelerations Acting on the Mercury Planetary Orbiter of the BepiColombo ESA Cornerstone Mission to Mercury: on Ground Calibration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iafolla, V.; Lucchesi, D. M.; Nozzoli, S.; Santoli, F.; Fois, M.; Persichini, M.

    2006-06-01

    To reach the ambitious goals of the Radio Science Experiment of the BepiColombo space mission to Mercury, among which the planet structure and rotation and test Einstein's theory of General Relativity (GR) to an unprecedented accuracy, an accelerometer has been selected to fly on-board the MPO (Mercury Planetary Orbiter), the main spacecraft of the two to be placed around the innermost planet of our solar system around 2017. The key role of the on-board accelerometer is to remove from the list of unknowns the non-gravitational accelerations that disturbs the pure gravitational orbit of the MPO spacecraft in the strong radiation environment of Mercury. In this way the ``corrected'' orbit of the MPO may be regarded as a geodesic in the field of Mercury. Then, thanks to the very precise tracking from Earth, the possibility to study Mercury's center-of-mass around the Sun and estimate several parameters related to the planet structure and verify the theory of GR. The selected accelerometer named ISA (Italian Spring Accelerometer) is an high sensitive instrument with an intrinsic noise of 10-10 g⊕ / Hz (with g⊕ ≅ 9.8 m / s2) in the frequency band 3 . 10-5 -10-1 Hz. ISA is a three axis accelerometer with a characteristic configuration, in order to minimize the disturbing accelerations due to the gravity-gradients and the apparent forces on the Nadir pointing MPO spacecraft. Because of the complex and strong radiation environment of Mercury, the modelling of the non-gravitational acceleration is quite difficult, while, with the use of ISA accelerometer we are able to gain a factor 100 in accuracy. In this brief paper we will focus on the characteristics of the ISA accelerometer, on its positioning on-board the MPO and in particularly to the techniques for on ground calibration, avoiding the effects of the Earth gravity.

  14. Mercury Emissions: The Global Context

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercury emissions are a global problem that knows no national or continental boundaries. Mercury that is emitted to the air can travel thousands of miles in the atmosphere before it is eventually deposited back to the earth.

  15. Tracing Planets in Circumstellar Discs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Uribe Ana L.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Planets are assumed to form in circumstellar discs around young stellar objects. The additional gravitational potential of a planet perturbs the disc and leads to characteristic structures, i.e. spiral waves and gaps, in the disc density profile. We perform a large-scale parameter study on the observability of these planet-induced structures in circumstellar discs in the (submm wavelength range for the Atacama Large (SubMillimeter Array (ALMA. On the basis of hydrodynamical and magneto-hydrodynamical simulations of star-disc-planet models we calculate the disc temperature structure and (submm images of these systems. These are used to derive simulated ALMA maps. Because appropriate objects are frequent in the Taurus-Auriga region, we focus on a distance of 140 pc and a declination of ≈ 20°. The explored range of star-disc-planet configurations consists of six hydrodynamical simulations (including magnetic fields and different planet masses, nine disc sizes with outer radii ranging from 9 AU to 225 AU, 15 total disc masses in the range between 2.67·10-7 M⊙ and 4.10·10-2 M⊙, six different central stars and two different grain size distributions, resulting in 10 000 disc models. At almost all scales and in particular down to a scale of a few AU, ALMA is able to trace disc structures induced by planet-disc interaction or the influence of magnetic fields in the wavelength range between 0.4...2.0 mm. In most cases, the optimum angular resolution is limited by the sensitivity of ALMA. However, within the range of typical masses of protoplane tary discs (0.1 M⊙...0.001 M⊙ the disc mass has a minor impact on the observability. At the distance of 140 pc it is possible to resolve discs down to 2.67·10-6 M⊙ and trace gaps in discs with 2.67·10-4 M⊙ with a signal-to-noise ratio greater than three. In general, it is more likely to trace planet-induced gaps in magneto-hydrodynamical disc models, because gaps are wider in the presence of

  16. Merging of the USGS Atlas of Mercury 1:5,000,000 Geologic Series

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frigeri, A.; Federico, C.; Pauselli, C.; Coradini, A.

    2008-01-01

    After 30 years, the planet Mercury is going to give us new information. The NASA MESSENGER [1] already made its first successful flyby on December 2007 while the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency ISAS/JAXA are preparing the upcoming mission BepiColombo [2]. In order to contribute to current and future analyses on the geology of Mercury, we have started to work on the production of a single digital geologic map of Mercury derived from the merging process of the geologic maps of the Atlas of Mercury, produced by the United States Geological Survey, based on Mariner 10 data. The aim of this work is to merge the nine maps so that the final product reflects as much as possible the original work. Herein we describe the data we used, the working environment and the steps made for producing the final map.

  17. The Mercury Thermal Environment As A Design Driver and A Scientific Objective of The Bepicolombo Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perotto, V.; Malosti, T.; Martino, R.; Briccarello, M.; Anselmi, A.

    The thermal environment of Mercury is extremely severe and a strong design driver for any mission to the planet. The main factors are the large amount of energy both di- rectly received from the sun and reflected/re-emitted from the planet, and the variation of such energy with time. The total thermal flux received by an object in orbit or on the surface of Mercury is a combination of the above-mentioned contributions, weighted according to the orbit characteristics, or the morphology of the surface. For a lander mission, the problems are compounded by the uncertainty in the a-priori knowledge of the surface properties and morphology. The thermal design of the orbiting and land- ing elements of the BepiColombo mission has a major role in the Definition Study being carried out under ESA contract by a team led by Alenia Spazio. The project en- compasses a spacecraft in low, near-circular, polar orbit (Mercury Planetary Orbiter, MPO), a spacecraft in high-eccentricity, polar orbit (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, MMO, provided by ISAS, Japan) and a lander (Mercury Surface Element, MSE). The approach to a feasible mission design must rely on several provisions. For the orbiting elements, the orientation of the orbit plane with respect to the line of apsides of the or- bit of Mercury is found to have a major effect on the achievable orbiter temperatures. The spacecraft configuration, and its attitude with respect to the planet and the sun, drive the accommodation of the scientific instruments. Once the optimal orientation, attitude and configuration are determined, specific thermal control solutions must be elaborated, to maintain all components including the instruments in the required tem- perature range. The objective is maximizing the scientific return under constraints such as the available on-board resources and the project budget. A major outcome of the study so far has been the specification of requirements for improved thermal con- trol technologies, which are

  18. Homes for extraterrestrial life: extrasolar planets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Latham, D W

    2001-12-01

    Astronomers are now discovering giant planets orbiting other stars like the sun by the dozens. But none of these appears to be a small rocky planet like the earth, and thus these planets are unlikely to be capable of supporting life as we know it. The recent discovery of a system of three planets is especially significant because it supports the speculation that planetary systems, as opposed to single orbiting planets, may be common. Our ability to detect extrasolar planets will continue to improve, and space missions now in development should be able to detect earth-like planets.

  19. GIANT PLANETS ORBITING METAL-RICH STARS SHOW SIGNATURES OF PLANET-PLANET INTERACTIONS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dawson, Rebekah I.; Murray-Clay, Ruth A.

    2013-01-01

    Gas giants orbiting interior to the ice line are thought to have been displaced from their formation locations by processes that remain debated. Here we uncover several new metallicity trends, which together may indicate that two competing mechanisms deliver close-in giant planets: gentle disk migration, operating in environments with a range of metallicities, and violent planet-planet gravitational interactions, primarily triggered in metal-rich systems in which multiple giant planets can form. First, we show with 99.1% confidence that giant planets with semimajor axes between 0.1 and 1 AU orbiting metal-poor stars ([Fe/H] < 0) are confined to lower eccentricities than those orbiting metal-rich stars. Second, we show with 93.3% confidence that eccentric proto-hot Jupiters undergoing tidal circularization primarily orbit metal-rich stars. Finally, we show that only metal-rich stars host a pile-up of hot Jupiters, helping account for the lack of such a pile-up in the overall Kepler sample. Migration caused by stellar perturbers (e.g., stellar Kozai) is unlikely to account for the trends. These trends further motivate follow-up theoretical work addressing which hot Jupiter migration theories can also produce the observed population of eccentric giant planets between 0.1 and 1 AU.

  20. Mercury content of edible mushrooms

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Woidich, H.; Pfannhauser, W.

    1975-05-01

    The mercury content of edible fungi is different. Relatively high burdened are Boletus and Agaricus campestris. A minimum of mercury is found in Russula, Agaricus bisporus and Cantharellus cibarius. The possibilities of mercury uptake and the potential cumulation mechanism is discussed. 8 references, 3 tables.

  1. Mercury (Environmental Health Student Portal)

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Water Waterborne Diseases & Illnesses Water Cycle Water Treatment Mercury The Basics Mercury — sometimes called quicksilver — is a natural metal. It’s ... to breathe it in without knowing it. When mercury combines with other chemical elements, it creates compounds, ...

  2. Giant Planet Interior Structure and Thermal Evolution

    OpenAIRE

    Fortney, Jonathan J.; Baraffe, Isabelle; Militzer, Burkhard

    2009-01-01

    We discuss the interior structure and composition of giant planets, and how this structure changes as these planets cool and contract over time. Here we define giant planets as those that have an observable hydrogen-helium envelope, which includes Jupiter-like planets, which are predominantly H/He gas, and Neptune-like planets which are predominantly composed of elements heavier than H/He. We describe the equations of state of planetary materials and the construction of static structural mode...

  3. Detecting New Planets in Transiting Systems

    OpenAIRE

    Steffen, Jason H.

    2006-01-01

    I present an initial investigation into a new planet detection technique that uses the transit timing of a known, transiting planet. The transits of a solitary planet orbiting a star occur at equally spaced intervals in time. If a second planet is present, dynamical interactions within the system will cause the time interval between transits to vary. These transit time variations can be used to infer the orbital elements of the unseen, perturbing planet. I show analytic expressions for the am...

  4. Sensing Mercury for Biomedical and Environmental Monitoring

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julia Xiaojun Zhao

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available Mercury is a very toxic element that is widely spread in the atmosphere, lithosphere, and surface water. Concentrated mercury poses serious problems to human health, as bioaccumulation of mercury within the brain and kidneys ultimately leads to neurological diseases. To control mercury pollution and reduce mercury damage to human health, sensitive determination of mercury is important. This article summarizes some current sensors for the determination of both abiotic and biotic mercury. A wide array of sensors for monitoring mercury is described, including biosensors and chemical sensors, while piezoelectric and microcantilever sensors are also described. Additionally, newly developed nanomaterials offer great potential for fabricating novel mercury sensors. Some of the functional fluorescent nanosensors for the determination of mercury are covered. Afterwards, the in vivo determination of mercury and the characterization of different forms of mercury are discussed. Finally, the future direction for mercury detection is outlined, suggesting that nanomaterials may provide revolutionary tools in biomedical and environmental monitoring of mercury.

  5. Carbon Solubility in Silicon-Iron-Bearing Metals during Core Formation on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E.; McCubbin, Francis M.; Ross, D. Kent; Rapp, Jennifer F.; Danielson, Lisa R.; Keller, Lindsay P.; Righter, Kevin

    2016-01-01

    Recent results obtained from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft showed the surface of Mercury has high S abundances (approximately 4 wt%) and low Iron(II) Oxide abundances (less than 2 wt%). Based on these extreme values, the oxygen fugacity of Mercury's surface materials was estimated to be approximately 3 to 7 log(sub 10) units below the IW buffer (Delta IW-3 to Delta IW-7). This highly reducing nature of the planet has resulted in a large core and relatively thin mantle, extending to only approximately 420 km depth (corresponding to a core-mantle boundary pressure of approximately 4-7 GPa) within the planet. Furthermore, MESSENGER results have suggested the presence of carbon on the surface of the planet. Previous experimental results from have also suggested the possibility of a primary floatation crust on Mercury composed of graphite, produced after a global magma ocean event. With these exotic conditions of this compositional end-member planet, it begs the question, what is the core composition of Mercury? Although no definitive conclusion has been reached, previous studies have made advances towards answering this question. Riner et al. and Chen et al. looked at iron sulfide systems and implemented various crystallization and layered core scenarios to try and determine the composition and structure of Mercury's core. Malavergne et al. examined core crystallization scenarios in the presence of sulfur and silicon. Hauck et al. used the most recent geophysical constraints from the MESSENGER spacecraft to model the internal structure of Mercury, including the core, in a iron-sulfur-silicon system. More recently, Chabot et al. conducted a series of metal-silicate partitioning experiments in a iron-sulfur-silicon system. These results showed the core of Mercury has the potential to contain more than 15 wt% silicon. However, with the newest results from MESSENGER's low altitude campaign, carbon is another

  6. Temperate Earth-sized planets transiting a nearby ultracool dwarf star.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gillon, Michaël; Jehin, Emmanuël; Lederer, Susan M; Delrez, Laetitia; de Wit, Julien; Burdanov, Artem; Van Grootel, Valérie; Burgasser, Adam J; Triaud, Amaury H M J; Opitom, Cyrielle; Demory, Brice-Olivier; Sahu, Devendra K; Bardalez Gagliuffi, Daniella; Magain, Pierre; Queloz, Didier

    2016-05-12

    Star-like objects with effective temperatures of less than 2,700 kelvin are referred to as 'ultracool dwarfs'. This heterogeneous group includes stars of extremely low mass as well as brown dwarfs (substellar objects not massive enough to sustain hydrogen fusion), and represents about 15 per cent of the population of astronomical objects near the Sun. Core-accretion theory predicts that, given the small masses of these ultracool dwarfs, and the small sizes of their protoplanetary disks, there should be a large but hitherto undetected population of terrestrial planets orbiting them--ranging from metal-rich Mercury-sized planets to more hospitable volatile-rich Earth-sized planets. Here we report observations of three short-period Earth-sized planets transiting an ultracool dwarf star only 12 parsecs away. The inner two planets receive four times and two times the irradiation of Earth, respectively, placing them close to the inner edge of the habitable zone of the star. Our data suggest that 11 orbits remain possible for the third planet, the most likely resulting in irradiation significantly less than that received by Earth. The infrared brightness of the host star, combined with its Jupiter-like size, offers the possibility of thoroughly characterizing the components of this nearby planetary system.

  7. Fast spin of the young extrasolar planet β Pictoris b.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Snellen, Ignas A G; Brandl, Bernhard R; de Kok, Remco J; Brogi, Matteo; Birkby, Jayne; Schwarz, Henriette

    2014-05-01

    The spin of a planet arises from the accretion of angular momentum during its formation, but the details of this process are still unclear. In the Solar System, the equatorial rotation velocities and, consequently, spin angular momenta of most of the planets increase with planetary mass; the exceptions to this trend are Mercury and Venus, which, since formation, have significantly spun down because of tidal interactions. Here we report near-infrared spectroscopic observations, at a resolving power of 100,000, of the young extrasolar gas giant planet β Pictoris b (refs 7, 8). The absorption signal from carbon monoxide in the planet's thermal spectrum is found to be blueshifted with respect to that from the parent star by approximately 15 kilometres per second, consistent with a circular orbit. The combined line profile exhibits a rotational broadening of about 25 kilometres per second, meaning that β Pictoris b spins significantly faster than any planet in the Solar System, in line with the extrapolation of the known trend in spin velocity with planet mass.

  8. Water displacement mercury pump

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nielsen, M.G.

    1984-04-20

    A water displacement mercury pump has a fluid inlet conduit and diffuser, a valve, a pressure cannister, and a fluid outlet conduit. The valve has a valve head which seats in an opening in the cannister. The entire assembly is readily insertable into a process vessel which produces mercury as a product. As the mercury settles, it flows into the opening in the cannister displacing lighter material. When the valve is in a closed position, the pressure cannister is sealed except for the fluid inlet conduit and the fluid outlet conduit. Introduction of a lighter fluid into the cannister will act to displace a heavier fluid from the cannister via the fluid outlet conduit. The entire pump assembly penetrates only a top wall of the process vessel, and not the sides or the bottom wall of the process vessel. This insures a leak-proof environment and is especially suitable for processing of hazardous materials.

  9. Analytical series representing DE431 ephemerides of terrestrial planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kudryavtsev, Sergey M.

    2016-03-01

    This paper describes the new analytical series DEA431, which comprise orbital elements of terrestrial planets obtained from the long-term numerical ephemerides DE431. The series are obtained from a modified frequency analysis of the ephemerides over 30 000 yr [-13 000, 17 000], the total time interval covered by DE431. Unlike the procedure involving classical Fourier analysis, the development here is made to trigonometric series in which both the amplitudes and the arguments of the series terms are high-degree polynomials of time. A comparison of the new series with those given by the most accurate analytical theory of planetary motion VSOP2013 is performed. The two analytical solutions find very similar major fundamental frequencies of planetary motion; however, the number of terms for orbital elements in the DEA431 development is about one order of magnitude lower than that in the VSOP2013 theory. VSOP2013 is still the best analytical solution when predicting the motion of terrestrial planets over 100 years or so, but DEA431 gives a much better prediction over long intervals, up to several tens of thousands of years. Over 24 000 yr centred at epoch J2000, the maximum differences between the rectangular ecliptic coordinates of terrestrial planets calculated using the DEA431 analytical series and the corresponding coordinates given by DE431 numerical ephemerides are 0.5 km for Mercury, 14.0 km for Venus, 12.7 km for the Earth-Moon barycentre, and 76.5 km for Mars. All coefficients of the DEA431 series and FORTRAN routines for calculating both orbital elements and rectangular coordinates of the terrestrial planets on the basis of the new series are available on the SAI web-server.

  10. Comet and Asteroid Hazard to the Terrestrial Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ipatov, S. I.; Mather, J. C.; Oegerle, William (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    We made computer simulations of orbital evolution for intervals of at least 5-10 Myr of N=2000 Jupiter-crossing objects (JCOs) with initial orbits close to those of real comets with period P less than 10 yr, 500 objects with orbits close to that of Comet 10P, and the asteroids initially located at the 3:1 and 5:2 resonances with Jupiter at initial eccentricity e(sub 0)=0.15 and initial inclination i(sub 0)=10(sup 0). The gravitational influence of all planets, except for Mercury and Pluto, was taken into account (without dissipative factors). We calculated the probabilities of collisions of bodies with the terrestrial planets, using orbital elements obtained with a step equal to 500 yr, and then summarized the results for all bodies, obtaining, the total probability Psigma of collisions with a planet and the total time interval Tsigma during which perihelion distance q of bodies was less than a semimajor axis of the planet. The values of p(sub r) =10(exp 6)Psigma/N and T(sub r)=T/1000 yr (where T=Tsigma/N) are presented in a table together with the ratio r of the total time interval when orbits were of Apollo type (at a greater than 1 AU, q less than 1.017 AU, e less than 0.999) to that of Amor type (1.017 less than q less than 1.33 AU), r(sub 2) is the same as r but for Apollo objects with e less than 0.9. For asteroids we present only results obtained by direct integration, as a symplectic method can give large errors for these resonances.

  11. MESSENGER Observations of ULF Waves in Mercury's Foreshock Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le, Guan; Chi, Peter J.; Bardsen, Scott; Blanco-Cano, Xochitl; Slavin, James A.; Korth, Haje

    2012-01-01

    The region upstream from a planetary bow shock is a natural plasma laboratory containing a variety of wave particle phenomena. The study of foreshocks other than the Earth s is important for extending our understanding of collisionless shocks and foreshock physics since the bow shock strength varies with heliocentric distance from the Sun, and the sizes of the bow shocks are different at different planets. The Mercury s bow shock is unique in our solar system as it is produced by low Mach number solar wind blowing over a small magnetized body with a predominately radial interplanetary magnetic field. Previous observations of Mercury upstream ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves came exclusively from two Mercury flybys of Mariner 10. The MESSENGER orbiter data enable us to study of upstream waves in the Mercury s foreshock in depth. This paper reports an overview of upstream ULF waves in the Mercury s foreshock using high-time resolution magnetic field data, 20 samples per second, from the MESSENGER spacecraft. The most common foreshock waves have frequencies near 2 Hz, with properties similar to the 1-Hz waves in the Earth s foreshock. They are present in both the flyby data and in every orbit of the orbital data we have surveyed. The most common wave phenomenon in the Earth s foreshock is the large-amplitude 30-s waves, but similar waves at Mercury have frequencies at 0.1 Hz and occur only sporadically with short durations (a few wave cycles). Superposed on the "30-s" waves, there are spectral peaks at 0.6 Hz, not reported previously in Mariner 10 data. We will discuss wave properties and their occurrence characteristics in this paper.

  12. In-Flight performance of MESSENGER's Mercury dual imaging system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawkins, S.E.; Murchie, S.L.; Becker, K.J.; Selby, C.M.; Turner, F.S.; Noble, M.W.; Chabot, N.L.; Choo, T.H.; Darlington, E.H.; Denevi, B.W.; Domingue, D.L.; Ernst, C.M.; Holsclaw, G.M.; Laslo, N.R.; Mcclintock, W.E.; Prockter, L.M.; Robinson, M.S.; Solomon, S.C.; Sterner, R.E.

    2009-01-01

    The Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, launched in August 2004 and planned for insertion into orbit around Mercury in 2011, has already completed two flybys of the innermost planet. The Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) acquired nearly 2500 images from the first two flybys and viewed portions of Mercury's surface not viewed by Mariner 10 in 1974-1975. Mercury's proximity to the Sun and its slow rotation present challenges to the thermal design for a camera on an orbital mission around Mercury. In addition, strict limitations on spacecraft pointing and the highly elliptical orbit create challenges in attaining coverage at desired geometries and relatively uniform spatial resolution. The instrument designed to meet these challenges consists of dual imagers, a monochrome narrow-angle camera (NAC) with a 1.5?? field of view (FOV) and a multispectral wide-angle camera (WAC) with a 10.5?? FOV, co-aligned on a pivoting platform. The focal-plane electronics of each camera are identical and use a 1024??1024 charge-coupled device detector. The cameras are passively cooled but use diode heat pipes and phase-change-material thermal reservoirs to maintain the thermal configuration during the hot portions of the orbit. Here we present an overview of the instrument design and how the design meets its technical challenges. We also review results from the first two flybys, discuss the quality of MDIS data from the initial periods of data acquisition and how that compares with requirements, and summarize how in-flight tests are being used to improve the quality of the instrument calibration. ?? 2009 SPIE.

  13. Mercury CEM Calibration

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    John Schabron; Joseph Rovani; Mark Sanderson

    2008-02-29

    Mercury continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) are being implemented in over 800 coal-fired power plant stacks. The power industry desires to conduct at least a full year of monitoring before the formal monitoring and reporting requirement begins on January 1, 2009. It is important for the industry to have available reliable, turnkey equipment from CEM vendors. Western Research Institute (WRI) is working closely with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate the development of the experimental criteria for a NIST traceability protocol for dynamic elemental mercury vapor generators. The generators are used to calibrate mercury CEMs at power plant sites. The Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) which was published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2005 requires that calibration be performed with NIST-traceable standards (Federal Register 2007). Traceability procedures will be defined by EPA. An initial draft traceability protocol was issued by EPA in May 2007 for comment. In August 2007, EPA issued an interim traceability protocol for elemental mercury generators (EPA 2007). The protocol is based on the actual analysis of the output of each calibration unit at several concentration levels ranging initially from about 2-40 {micro}g/m{sup 3} elemental mercury, and in the future down to 0.2 {micro}g/m{sup 3}, and this analysis will be directly traceable to analyses by NIST. The document is divided into two separate sections. The first deals with the qualification of generators by the vendors for use in mercury CEM calibration. The second describes the procedure that the vendors must use to certify the generator models that meet the qualification specifications. The NIST traceable certification is performance based, traceable to analysis using isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry performed by NIST in Gaithersburg, MD. The

  14. Observations of Metallic Species in Mercury's Exosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Killen, Rosemary M.; Potter, Andrew E.; Vervack, Ronald J., Jr.; Bradley, E. Todd; McClintock, William E.; Anderson, Carrie M.; Burger, Matthew H.

    2010-01-01

    From observations of the metallic species sodium (Na), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg) in Mercury's exosphere, we derive implications for source and loss processes. All metallic species observed exhibit a distribution and/or line width characteristic of high to extreme temperature - tens of thousands of degrees K. The temperatures of refractory species, including magnesium and calcium, indicate that the source process for the atoms observed in the tail and near-planet exosphere are consistent with ion sputtering and/or impact vaporization of a molecule with subsequent dissociation into the atomic form. The extended Mg tail is consistent with a surface abundance of 5-8% Mg by number, if 30% of impact-vaporized Mg remains as MgO and half of the impact vapor condenses. Globally, ion sputtering is not a major source of Mg, but locally the sputtered source can be larger than the impact vapor source. We conclude that the Na and K in Mercury's exosphere can be derived from a regolith composition similar to that of Luna 16 soil (or Apollo 17 orange glass), in which the abundance by number is 0.0027 (0.0028) for Na and 0.0006 (0.0045) for K.

  15. Investigating Mercury's South Polar Deposits: Arecibo Radar Observations and High-Resolution Determination of Illumination Conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chabot, Nancy L.; Shread, Evangela E.; Harmon, John K.

    2018-02-01

    There is strong evidence that Mercury's polar deposits are water ice hosted in permanently shadowed regions. In this study, we present new Arecibo radar observations of Mercury's south pole, which reveal numerous radar-bright deposits and substantially increase the radar imaging coverage. We also use images from MESSENGER's full mission to determine the illumination conditions of Mercury's south polar region at the same spatial resolution as the north polar region, enabling comparisons between the two poles. The area of radar-bright deposits in Mercury's south is roughly double that found in the north, consistent with the larger permanently shadowed area in the older, cratered terrain at the south relative to the younger smooth plains at the north. Radar-bright features are strongly associated with regions of permanent shadow at both poles, consistent with water ice being the dominant component of the deposits. However, both of Mercury's polar regions show that roughly 50% of permanently shadowed regions lack radar-bright deposits, despite some of these locations having thermal environments that are conducive to the presence of water ice. The observed uneven distribution of water ice among Mercury's polar cold traps may suggest that the source of Mercury's water ice was not a steady, regular process but rather that the source was an episodic event, such as a recent, large impact on the innermost planet.

  16. Dictionary of minor planet names

    CERN Document Server

    Schmadel, Lutz D

    1997-01-01

    Until recently, minor planet name citations were scattered in the astronomical literature, and the origin of many names remained obscure In 1988 the IAU Commission 20 established a study group to elucidate the meanings of asteroid names Later on the author continued in collecting and indexing all new relevant data This book contains the names, and their meanings, of all - as yet 5252 - named minor planets It informs about the discoverers as well as the circumstances of the discovery of all 7041 minor planets that were numbered up to June 1996 In addition to being of practical value for identification purposes, the collection provides a most interesting historical insight into the work of those astronomers who over two centuries vested their affinities in a rich and colourful variety of ingenious names, from heavenly goddesses to more prosaic constructions This third, revised and enlarged edition comprises about 40% more information than was provided with the first one of 1992

  17. Growth of planets from planetesimals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; Stewart, Glen R.

    1993-01-01

    The paper reviews the formation of terrestrial planets and the cores of Jovian planets within the framework of the planetesimal hypothesis, wherein planets are assumed to grow via the pairwise accumulation of small solid bodies. The rate of (proto)planetary growth is determined by the size and mass of the protoplanet, the surface density of planetesimals, and the distribution of planetesimal velocities relative to the protoplanet. Planetesimal velocities are modified by mutual gravitational interactions and collisions, which convert energy present in the ordered relative motions of orbiting particles into random motions and tend to reduce the velocities of the largest bodies in the swarm relative to those of smaller bodies, as well as by gas drag, which damps eccentricities and inclinations. The evolution of planetesimal size distribution is determined by the gravitationally enhanced collision cross section, which favors collisions between planetesimals with smaller velocities.

  18. Habitable planets with high obliquities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, D M; Kasting, J F

    1997-01-01

    Earth's obliquity would vary chaotically from 0 degrees to 85 degrees were it not for the presence of the Moon (J. Laskar, F. Joutel, and P. Robutel, 1993, Nature 361, 615-617). The Moon itself is thought to be an accident of accretion, formed by a glancing blow from a Mars-sized planetesimal. Hence, planets with similar moons and stable obliquities may be extremely rare. This has lead Laskar and colleagues to suggest that the number of Earth-like planets with high obliquities and temperate, life-supporting climates may be small. To test this proposition, we have used an energy-balance climate model to simulate Earth's climate at obliquities up to 90 degrees. We show that Earth's climate would become regionally severe in such circumstances, with large seasonal cycles and accompanying temperature extremes on middle- and high-latitude continents which might be damaging to many forms of life. The response of other, hypothetical, Earth-like planets to large obliquity fluctuations depends on their land-sea distribution and on their position within the habitable zone (HZ) around their star. Planets with several modest-sized continents or equatorial supercontinents are more climatically stable than those with polar supercontinents. Planets farther out in the HZ are less affected by high obliquities because their atmospheres should accumulate CO2 in response to the carbonate-silicate cycle. Dense, CO2-rich atmospheres transport heat very effectively and therefore limit the magnitude of both seasonal cycles and latitudinal temperature gradients. We conclude that a significant fraction of extrasolar Earth-like planets may still be habitable, even if they are subject to large obliquity fluctuations.

  19. Guldlok og de nye planeter

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Jens Olaf Pepke

    2007-01-01

    De såkaldte exoplaneter, som er planeter i andre solsystemer, beskrivelse af de de betingelser, der skal være opfyldt, før man kan gøre sig håb om at finde liv på dem og de metoder astronomer bruger til at finde planeterne.......De såkaldte exoplaneter, som er planeter i andre solsystemer, beskrivelse af de de betingelser, der skal være opfyldt, før man kan gøre sig håb om at finde liv på dem og de metoder astronomer bruger til at finde planeterne....

  20. Atmospheres of the terrestrial planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kivelson, M.G.; Schubert, G.

    1986-01-01

    Properties of the planets are identified - such as size, spin rate, and distance from the sun - that are important in understanding the characteristics of their atmospheres. Venus, earth and Mars have surface-temperature differences only partly explained by the decrease of solar radiation flux with distance from the sun. More significant effects arise from the variations in the degree to which the atmospheres act as absorbers of planetary thermal reradiation. Atmospheric circulation on a global scale also varies markedly among the three planets. 5 references

  1. An Accurate Model of Mercury's Spin-Orbit Motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rambaux, Nicolas; Bois, Eric

    2005-01-01

    Our work deals with the physical and dynamical causes that induce librations around an equilibrium state defined by the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance of Mercury. In order to integrate the spin-orbit motion of Mercury we have used our gravitational model of the solar System including the Moon's spin-orbit motion. This model called SONYR (acronym of Spin-Orbit N-bodY Relativistic) was previously built by Bois Journet and Vokrouhlicky in accordance with the requirements of the Lunar Laser Ranging observational accuracy. Using the model we have identified and evaluated the main perturbations acting on the spin-orbit motion of Mercury such as the planetary interactions and the dynamical figure of the planet. Moreover the complete rotation of Mercury exhibits two proper frequencies namely 15.825 and 1089 years and one secular variation of 271043 years. Besides we have computed in the Hermean librations the impact of the variation of the greatest principal moment of inertia C/MR2 on the obliquity and on the libration in longitude (1.4 and 0.4 milliarseconds respectively for an increase of 1% on the C/MR2 value). We think that these accurate relations are also significant and useful in the context of the two upcoming missions BepiColombo and MESSENGER.

  2. The Morphology of Craters on Mercury: Results from MESSENGER Flybys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnouin, Oliver S.; Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Herrick, Robert R.; Chappelow, John E.; Murchie, Scott L.; Prockter, Louise M.

    2012-01-01

    Topographic data measured from the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) and the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) aboard the MESSENGER spacecraft were used for investigations of the relationship between depth and diameter for impact craters on Mercury. Results using data from the MESSENGER flybys of the innermost planet indicate that most of the craters measured with MLA are shallower than those previously measured by using Mariner 10 images. MDIS images of these same MLA-measured craters show that they have been modified. The use of shadow measurement techniques, which were found to be accurate relative to the MLA results, indicate that both small bowl-shaped and large complex craters that are fresh possess depth-to-diameter ratios that are in good agreement with those measured from Mariner 10 images. The preliminary data also show that the depths of modified craters are shallower relative to fresh ones, and might provide quantitative estimates of crater in-filling by subsequent volcanic or impact processes. The diameter that defines the transition from simple to complex craters on Mercury based on MESSENGER data is consistent with that reported from Mariner 10 data.

  3. IMPACT CRATERING ON MERCURY: CONSEQUENCES FOR THE SPIN EVOLUTION

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Correia, Alexandre C. M.; Laskar, Jacques

    2012-01-01

    Impact basins identified by Mariner 10 and Messenger flyby images provide us with a fossilized record of the impactor flux of asteroids on Mercury during the last stages of the early solar system. The distribution of these basins is not uniform across the surface and is consistent with a primordial synchronous rotation. By analyzing the size of the impacts, we derive a simple collisional model coherent with the observations. When combining it with the secular evolution of the spin of Mercury, we are able to reproduce the present 3/2 spin-orbit resonance (∼50% of chances), as well as a primordial synchronous rotation. This result is robust with respect to variations in the dissipation and collisional models, or in the initial spin state of the planet.

  4. Evolution of the Rembrandt impact basin on Mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watters, Thomas R; Head, James W; Solomon, Sean C; Robinson, Mark S; Chapman, Clark R; Denevi, Brett W; Fassett, Caleb I; Murchie, Scott L; Strom, Robert G

    2009-05-01

    MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby revealed a ~715-kilometer-diameter impact basin, the second-largest well-preserved basin-scale impact structure known on the planet. The Rembrandt basin is comparable in age to the Caloris basin, is partially flooded by volcanic plains, and displays a unique wheel-and-spoke-like pattern of basin-radial and basin-concentric wrinkle ridges and graben. Stratigraphic relations indicate a multistaged infilling and deformational history involving successive or overlapping phases of contractional and extensional deformation. The youngest deformation of the basin involved the formation of a approximately 1000-kilometer-long lobate scarp, a product of the global cooling and contraction of Mercury.

  5. Method and apparatus for sampling atmospheric mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trujillo, Patricio E.; Campbell, Evan E.; Eutsler, Bernard C.

    1976-01-20

    A method of simultaneously sampling particulate mercury, organic mercurial vapors, and metallic mercury vapor in the working and occupational environment and determining the amount of mercury derived from each such source in the sampled air. A known volume of air is passed through a sampling tube containing a filter for particulate mercury collection, a first adsorber for the selective adsorption of organic mercurial vapors, and a second adsorber for the adsorption of metallic mercury vapor. Carbon black molecular sieves are particularly useful as the selective adsorber for organic mercurial vapors. The amount of mercury adsorbed or collected in each section of the sampling tube is readily quantitatively determined by flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

  6. Habitable zone limits for dry planets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abe, Yutaka; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Sleep, Norman H; Zahnle, Kevin J

    2011-06-01

    Most discussion of habitable planets has focused on Earth-like planets with globally abundant liquid water. For an "aqua planet" like Earth, the surface freezes if far from its sun, and the water vapor greenhouse effect runs away if too close. Here we show that "land planets" (desert worlds with limited surface water) have wider habitable zones than aqua planets. For planets at the inner edge of the habitable zone, a land planet has two advantages over an aqua planet: (i) the tropics can emit longwave radiation at rates above the traditional runaway limit because the air is unsaturated and (ii) the dry air creates a dry stratosphere that limits hydrogen escape. At the outer limits of the habitable zone, the land planet better resists global freezing because there is less water for clouds, snow, and ice. Here we describe a series of numerical experiments using a simple three-dimensional global climate model for Earth-sized planets. Other things (CO(2), rotation rate, surface pressure) unchanged, we found that liquid water remains stable at the poles of a low-obliquity land planet until net insolation exceeds 415 W/m(2) (170% that of modern Earth), compared to 330 W/m(2) (135%) for the aqua planet. At the outer limits, we found that a low-obliquity land planet freezes at 77%, while the aqua planet freezes at 90%. High-obliquity land and aqua planets freeze at 58% and 72%, respectively, with the poles offering the last refuge. We show that it is possible that, as the Sun brightens, an aqua planet like Earth can lose most of its hydrogen and become a land planet without first passing through a sterilizing runaway greenhouse. It is possible that Venus was a habitable land planet as recently as 1 billion years ago.

  7. Existence of collisional trajectories of Mercury, Mars and Venus with the Earth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laskar, J; Gastineau, M

    2009-06-11

    It has been established that, owing to the proximity of a resonance with Jupiter, Mercury's eccentricity can be pumped to values large enough to allow collision with Venus within 5 Gyr (refs 1-3). This conclusion, however, was established either with averaged equations that are not appropriate near the collisions or with non-relativistic models in which the resonance effect is greatly enhanced by a decrease of the perihelion velocity of Mercury. In these previous studies, the Earth's orbit was essentially unaffected. Here we report numerical simulations of the evolution of the Solar System over 5 Gyr, including contributions from the Moon and general relativity. In a set of 2,501 orbits with initial conditions that are in agreement with our present knowledge of the parameters of the Solar System, we found, as in previous studies, that one per cent of the solutions lead to a large increase in Mercury's eccentricity-an increase large enough to allow collisions with Venus or the Sun. More surprisingly, in one of these high-eccentricity solutions, a subsequent decrease in Mercury's eccentricity induces a transfer of angular momentum from the giant planets that destabilizes all the terrestrial planets approximately 3.34 Gyr from now, with possible collisions of Mercury, Mars or Venus with the Earth.

  8. Comparative geology of the satellites of the giant planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masson, P.

    1984-08-01

    The geologic evolution of the Jovian and Saturnian satellites is reviewed with regard to the major discoveries of the Voyager 1 and 2 encounters with Jupiter and Saturn. Nearly 40 satellites are now identified in the Jovian and Saturnian systems. Three of these satellites (Ganymede, Titan, and Callisto) are larger than Mercury, two (Io and Europa) have sizes similar to the moon, and four others (Rhea, Iapetus, Dione, and Tethys) are larger than the largest asteroids. They all have experienced different geologic evolutions related to their composition and to their location in the two systems. The present emphasis is upon the cratering record of their surfaces, and on their thermal evolution, with regard to the tidal effects produced by the giant planets. The small satellites are presented with no attempt to review their geologic record, since they are only known from their orbital properties.

  9. Mercury analysis in hair

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Esteban, Marta; Schindler, Birgit Karin; Jiménez, José Antonio

    2015-01-01

    laboratories. Training sessions were organized for field workers and four external quality-assessment exercises (ICI/EQUAS), followed by the corresponding web conferences, were organized between March 2011 and February 2012. ICI/EQUAS used native hair samples at two mercury concentration ranges (0...

  10. Mercury exposure in Ireland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cullen, Elizabeth; Evans, David S; Davidson, Fred

    2014-01-01

    of a study to Coordinate and Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale (DEMOCOPHES) pilot biomonitoring study. METHODS: Hair mercury concentrations were determined from a convenience sample of 120 mother/child pairs. Mothers also completed a questionnaire. Rigorous quality assurance within DEMOCOPHES...

  11. Metabolic models for methyl and inorganic mercury

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bernard, S.R.; Purdue, P.

    1984-03-01

    Following the outbreak of mercury poisoning in Minimata, Japan (1953-60), much work has been done on the toxicology of mercury - in particular methyl mercury. In this paper, the authors derive two compartmental models for the metabolism of methyl mercury and inorganic mercury based upon the data which have been collected since 1960.

  12. Atmospheric dynamics of tidally synchronized extrasolar planets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cho, James Y-K

    2008-12-13

    Tidally synchronized planets present a new opportunity for enriching our understanding of atmospheric dynamics on planets. Subject to an unusual forcing arrangement (steady irradiation on the same side of the planet throughout its orbit), the dynamics on these planets may be unlike that on any of the Solar System planets. Characterizing the flow pattern and temperature distribution on the extrasolar planets is necessary for reliable interpretation of data currently being collected, as well as for guiding future observations. In this paper, several fundamental concepts from atmospheric dynamics, likely to be central for characterization, are discussed. Theoretical issues that need to be addressed in the near future are also highlighted.

  13. [Mercury in vaccines].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hessel, Luc

    2003-01-01

    Thiomersal, also called thimerosal, is an ethyl mercury derivative used as a preservative to prevent bacterial contamination of multidose vaccine vials after they have been opened. Exposure to low doses of thiomersal has essentially been associated with hypersensitivity reactions. Nevertheless there is no evidence that allergy to thiomersal could be induced by thiomersal-containing vaccines. Allergy to thiomersal is usually of delayed-hypersensitivity type, but its detection through cutaneous tests is not very reliable. Hypersensitivity to thiomersal is not considered as a contraindication to the use of thiomersal-containing vaccines. In 1999 in the USA, thiomersal was present in approximately 30 different childhood vaccines, whereas there were only 2 in France. Although there were no evidence of neurological toxicity in infants related to the use of thiomersal-containing vaccines, the FDA considered that the cumulative dose of mercury received by young infants following vaccination was high enough (although lower than the FDA threshold for methyl mercury) to request vaccine manufacturers to remove thiomersal from vaccine formulations. Since 2002, all childhood vaccines used in Europe and the USA are thiomersal-free or contain only minute amounts of thiomersal. Recently published studies have shown that the mercury levels in the blood, faeces and urine of children who had received thiomersal-containing vaccines were much lower than those accepted by the American Environmental Protection Agency. It has also been demonstrated that the elimination of mercury in children was much faster than what was expected on the basis of studies conducted with methyl mercury originating from food. Recently, the hypothesis that mercury contained in vaccines could be the cause of autism and other neurological developmental disorders created a new debate in the medical community and the general public. To date, none of the epidemiological studies conducted in Europe and elsewhere

  14. Mercury Information Clearinghouse

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chad A. Wocken; Michael J. Holmes; Dennis L. Laudal; Debra F. Pflughoeft-Hassett; Greg F. Weber; Nicholas V. C. Ralston; Stanley J. Miller; Grant E. Dunham; Edwin S. Olson; Laura J. Raymond; John H. Pavlish; Everett A. Sondreal; Steven A. Benson

    2006-03-31

    The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) identified a need and contracted the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) to create and maintain an information clearinghouse on global research and development activities related to mercury emissions from coal-fired electric utilities. With the support of CEA, the Center for Air Toxic Metals{reg_sign} (CATM{reg_sign}) Affiliates, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the EERC developed comprehensive quarterly information updates that provide a detailed assessment of developments in the various areas of mercury monitoring, control, policy, and research. A total of eight topical reports were completed and are summarized and updated in this final CEA quarterly report. The original quarterly reports can be viewed at the CEA Web site (www.ceamercuryprogram.ca). In addition to a comprehensive update of previous mercury-related topics, a review of results from the CEA Mercury Program is provided. Members of Canada's coal-fired electricity generation sector (ATCO Power, EPCOR, Manitoba Hydro, New Brunswick Power, Nova Scotia Power Inc., Ontario Power Generation, SaskPower, and TransAlta) and CEA, have compiled an extensive database of information from stack-, coal-, and ash-sampling activities. Data from this effort are also available at the CEA Web site and have provided critical information for establishing and reviewing a mercury standard for Canada that is protective of environment and public health and is cost-effective. Specific goals outlined for the CEA mercury program included the following: (1) Improve emission inventories and develop management options through an intensive 2-year coal-, ash-, and stack-sampling program; (2) Promote effective stack testing through the development of guidance material and the support of on-site training on the Ontario Hydro method for employees, government representatives, and contractors on an as-needed basis; (3) Strengthen laboratory analytical capabilities through

  15. Monster telescope hunts blue planets

    CERN Multimedia

    Leake, J

    2003-01-01

    BRITAIN is to back a project to build the world's biggest telescope - so powerful that it could see life-bearing planets in other solar systems. It will need the largest mirror ever built at about 100 metres in diameter (1/2 page).

  16. MEMS AO for Planet Finding

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rao, Shanti; Wallace, J. Kent; Shao, Mike; Schmidtlin, Edouard; Levine, B. Martin; Samuele, Rocco; Lane, Benjamin; Chakrabarti, Supriya; Cook, Timothy; Hicks, Brian; hide

    2008-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews a method for planet finding using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) Adaptive Optics (AO). The use of a deformable mirror (DM) is described as a part of the instrument that was designed with a nulling interferometer. The strategy that is used is described in detail.

  17. Small Mercury Relativity Orbiter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bender, Peter L.; Vincent, Mark A.

    1989-01-01

    The accuracy of solar system tests of gravitational theory could be very much improved by range and Doppler measurements to a Small Mercury Relativity Orbiter. A nearly circular orbit at roughly 2400 km altitude is assumed in order to minimize problems with orbit determination and thermal radiation from the surface. The spacecraft is spin-stabilized and has a 30 cm diameter de-spun antenna. With K-band and X-band ranging systems using a 50 MHz offset sidetone at K-band, a range accuracy of 3 cm appears to be realistically achievable. The estimated spacecraft mass is 50 kg. A consider-covariance analysis was performed to determine how well the Earth-Mercury distance as a function of time could be determined with such a Relativity Orbiter. The minimum data set is assumed to be 40 independent 8-hour arcs of tracking data at selected times during a two year period. The gravity field of Mercury up through degree and order 10 is solved for, along with the initial conditions for each arc and the Earth-Mercury distance at the center of each arc. The considered parameters include the gravity field parameters of degree 11 and 12 plus the tracking station coordinates, the tropospheric delay, and two parameters in a crude radiation pressure model. The conclusion is that the Earth-Mercury distance can be determined to 6 cm accuracy or better. From a modified worst-case analysis, this would lead to roughly 2 orders of magnitude improvement in the knowledge of the precession of perihelion, the relativistic time delay, and the possible change in the gravitational constant with time.

  18. Mercury Phase II Study - Mercury Behavior in Salt Processing Flowsheet

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jain, V. [Savannah River Remediation, LLC., Aiken, SC (United States); Shah, H. [Savannah River Remediation, LLC., Aiken, SC (United States). Sludge and Salt Planning; Bannochie, C. J. [Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL); Wilmarth, W. R. [Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)

    2016-07-25

    Mercury (Hg) in the Savannah River Site Liquid Waste System (LWS) originated from decades of canyon processing where it was used as a catalyst for dissolving the aluminum cladding of reactor fuel. Approximately 60 metric tons of mercury is currently present throughout the LWS. Mercury has long been a consideration in the LWS, from both hazard and processing perspectives. In February 2015, a Mercury Program Team was established at the request of the Department of Energy to develop a comprehensive action plan for long-term management and removal of mercury. Evaluation was focused in two Phases. Phase I activities assessed the Liquid Waste inventory and chemical processing behavior using a system-by-system review methodology, and determined the speciation of the different mercury forms (Hg+, Hg++, elemental Hg, organomercury, and soluble versus insoluble mercury) within the LWS. Phase II activities are building on the Phase I activities, and results of the LWS flowsheet evaluations will be summarized in three reports: Mercury Behavior in the Salt Processing Flowsheet (i.e. this report); Mercury Behavior in the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) Flowsheet; and Mercury behavior in the Tank Farm Flowsheet (Evaporator Operations). The evaluation of the mercury behavior in the salt processing flowsheet indicates, inter alia, the following: (1) In the assembled Salt Batches 7, 8 and 9 in Tank 21, the total mercury is mostly soluble with methylmercury (MHg) contributing over 50% of the total mercury. Based on the analyses of samples from 2H Evaporator feed and drop tanks (Tanks 38/43), the source of MHg in Salt Batches 7, 8 and 9 can be attributed to the 2H evaporator concentrate used in assembling the salt batches. The 2H Evaporator is used to evaporate DWPF recycle water. (2) Comparison of data between Tank 21/49, Salt Solution Feed Tank (SSFT), Decontaminated Salt Solution Hold Tank (DSSHT), and Tank 50 samples suggests that the total mercury as well as speciated

  19. Mercury Phase II Study - Mercury Behavior in Salt Processing Flowsheet

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jain, V.; Shah, H.; Wilmarth, W. R.

    2016-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) in the Savannah River Site Liquid Waste System (LWS) originated from decades of canyon processing where it was used as a catalyst for dissolving the aluminum cladding of reactor fuel. Approximately 60 metric tons of mercury is currently present throughout the LWS. Mercury has long been a consideration in the LWS, from both hazard and processing perspectives. In February 2015, a Mercury Program Team was established at the request of the Department of Energy to develop a comprehensive action plan for long-term management and removal of mercury. Evaluation was focused in two Phases. Phase I activities assessed the Liquid Waste inventory and chemical processing behavior using a system-by-system review methodology, and determined the speciation of the different mercury forms (Hg+, Hg++, elemental Hg, organomercury, and soluble versus insoluble mercury) within the LWS. Phase II activities are building on the Phase I activities, and results of the LWS flowsheet evaluations will be summarized in three reports: Mercury Behavior in the Salt Processing Flowsheet (i.e. this report); Mercury Behavior in the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) Flowsheet; and Mercury behavior in the Tank Farm Flowsheet (Evaporator Operations). The evaluation of the mercury behavior in the salt processing flowsheet indicates, inter alia, the following: (1) In the assembled Salt Batches 7, 8 and 9 in Tank 21, the total mercury is mostly soluble with methylmercury (MHg) contributing over 50% of the total mercury. Based on the analyses of samples from 2H Evaporator feed and drop tanks (Tanks 38/43), the source of MHg in Salt Batches 7, 8 and 9 can be attributed to the 2H evaporator concentrate used in assembling the salt batches. The 2H Evaporator is used to evaporate DWPF recycle water. (2) Comparison of data between Tank 21/49, Salt Solution Feed Tank (SSFT), Decontaminated Salt Solution Hold Tank (DSSHT), and Tank 50 samples suggests that the total mercury as well as speciated

  20. Variation of sodium on Mercury with solar radiation pressure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Potter, A.E.; Morgan, T.H.

    1987-01-01

    It has been suggested that nonthermal Na atoms with velocities in excess of 2.1 km/sec in the Mercury atmosphere can be accelerated off the planet by solar radiation pressure; Na abundance may accordingly be expected to decrease with increasing radiation pressure. While this is confirmed by the present measurements, high resolution line profile measurements on Na emission indicate that very little, if any, of the Na is nonthermal, while the bulk is at a temperature approaching that of the planetary surface. Attention is given to explanations for the observed variation. 11 references

  1. Magnetic field of Mercury and models of thermal evolution

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sharpe, H.N.; Strangway, D.W.

    1976-01-01

    Recent planetary probes have performed in situ measurements of the magnetic fields of all the terrestrial planets. Consideration is given to the origin of these fields, with attention to the equilibrium-- condensation hypothesis for the formation of the solar system. In particular, it is shown that Mercury's present day magnetic field could have been acquired during or shortly after a cold accretion or that it could be due to a presently operating dynamo, resulting from a 'hot evolution'. Two parameters which would help to distinguish between these possibilities are the present-day surface heat flow and the moment of inertia

  2. Evaluating an impact origin for Mercury's high-magnesium region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, Elizabeth A.; Potter, Ross W. K.; Abramov, Oleg; James, Peter B.; Klima, Rachel L.; Mojzsis, Stephen J.; Nittler, Larry R.

    2017-03-01

    During its four years in orbit around Mercury, the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft's X-ray Spectrometer revealed a large geochemical terrane in the northern hemisphere that hosts the highest Mg/Si, S/Si, Ca/Si, and Fe/Si and lowest Al/Si ratios on the planet. Correlations with low topography, thin crust, and a sharp northern topographic boundary led to the proposal that this high-Mg region is the remnant of an ancient, highly degraded impact basin. Here we use a numerical modeling approach to explore the feasibility of this hypothesis and evaluate the results against multiple mission-wide data sets and resulting maps from MESSENGER. We find that an 3000 km diameter impact basin easily exhumes Mg-rich mantle material but that the amount of subsequent modification required to hide basin structure is incompatible with the strength of the geochemical anomaly, which is also present in maps of Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer data. Consequently, the high-Mg region is more likely to be the product of high-temperature volcanism sourced from a chemically heterogeneous mantle than the remains of a large impact event.Plain Language SummaryDuring its four years in orbit around Mercury, chemical measurements from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft revealed a large region of unusual composition relative to the rest of the planet. Its elevated magnesium abundance, in particular, led to the name of the "high-magnesium region" (HMR). High magnesium abundance in rock can be an indicator of its origin, such as high-temperature volcanism. Although the HMR covers approximately 15% of Mercury's surface, its origin is not obvious. It does roughly correspond to a depression with thin crust, which previously led to the hypothesis that it is an ancient impact crater that was large enough to excavate mantle material, which, in rocky planets, is rich in magnesium relative to their

  3. A mercury transport and fate model (LM2-mercury) for mass budget assessment of mercury cycling in Lake Michigan

    Science.gov (United States)

    LM2-Mercury, a mercury mass balance model, was developed to simulate and evaluate the transport, fate, and biogeochemical transformations of mercury in Lake Michigan. The model simulates total suspended solids (TSS), disolved organic carbon (DOC), and total, elemental, divalent, ...

  4. Mercury Exposure and Heart Diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Genchi, Giuseppe; Sinicropi, Maria Stefania; Carocci, Alessia; Lauria, Graziantonio; Catalano, Alessia

    2017-01-12

    Environmental contamination has exposed humans to various metal agents, including mercury. It has been determined that mercury is not only harmful to the health of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children, but is also toxic to ordinary adults in various ways. For many years, mercury was used in a wide variety of human activities. Nowadays, the exposure to this metal from both natural and artificial sources is significantly increasing. Recent studies suggest that chronic exposure, even to low concentration levels of mercury, can cause cardiovascular, reproductive, and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and carcinogenicity. Possible biological effects of mercury, including the relationship between mercury toxicity and diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction, are being studied. As heart rhythm and function are under autonomic nervous system control, it has been hypothesized that the neurotoxic effects of mercury might also impact cardiac autonomic function. Mercury exposure could have a long-lasting effect on cardiac parasympathetic activity and some evidence has shown that mercury exposure might affect heart rate variability, particularly early exposures in children. The mechanism by which mercury produces toxic effects on the cardiovascular system is not fully elucidated, but this mechanism is believed to involve an increase in oxidative stress. The exposure to mercury increases the production of free radicals, potentially because of the role of mercury in the Fenton reaction and a reduction in the activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase. In this review we report an overview on the toxicity of mercury and focus our attention on the toxic effects on the cardiovascular system.

  5. Mercury Exposure and Heart Diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giuseppe Genchi

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Environmental contamination has exposed humans to various metal agents, including mercury. It has been determined that mercury is not only harmful to the health of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children, but is also toxic to ordinary adults in various ways. For many years, mercury was used in a wide variety of human activities. Nowadays, the exposure to this metal from both natural and artificial sources is significantly increasing. Recent studies suggest that chronic exposure, even to low concentration levels of mercury, can cause cardiovascular, reproductive, and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and carcinogenicity. Possible biological effects of mercury, including the relationship between mercury toxicity and diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction, are being studied. As heart rhythm and function are under autonomic nervous system control, it has been hypothesized that the neurotoxic effects of mercury might also impact cardiac autonomic function. Mercury exposure could have a long-lasting effect on cardiac parasympathetic activity and some evidence has shown that mercury exposure might affect heart rate variability, particularly early exposures in children. The mechanism by which mercury produces toxic effects on the cardiovascular system is not fully elucidated, but this mechanism is believed to involve an increase in oxidative stress. The exposure to mercury increases the production of free radicals, potentially because of the role of mercury in the Fenton reaction and a reduction in the activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase. In this review we report an overview on the toxicity of mercury and focus our attention on the toxic effects on the cardiovascular system.

  6. Spin-orbit evolution of Mercury revisited

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noyelles, Benoît; Frouard, Julien; Makarov, Valeri V.; Efroimsky, Michael

    2014-10-01

    Although it is accepted that the significant eccentricity of Mercury (0.206) favours entrapment into the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, open are the questions of how and when the capture took place. A recent work by Makarov (Makarov, V.V. [2012]. Astrophys. J., 752, 73) has proven that trapping into this state is certain for eccentricities larger than 0.2, provided we use a realistic tidal model based on the Darwin-Kaula expansion of the tidal torque. While in Ibid. a Mercury-like planet had its eccentricity fixed, we take into account its evolution. To that end, a family of possible histories of the eccentricity is generated, based on synthetic time evolution consistent with the expected statistics of the distribution of eccentricity. We employ a model of tidal friction, which takes into account both the rheology and self-gravitation of the planet. As opposed to the commonly used constant time lag (CTL) and constant phase lag (CPL) models, the physics-based tidal model changes dramatically the statistics of the possible final spin states. First, we discover that after only one encounter with the spin-orbit 3:2 resonance this resonance becomes the most probable end-state. Second, if a capture into this (or any other) resonance takes place, the capture becomes final, several crossings of the same state being forbidden by our model. Third, within our model the trapping of Mercury happens much faster than previously believed: for most histories, 10-20 Myr are sufficient. Fourth, even a weak laminar friction between the solid mantle and a molten core would most likely result in a capture in the 2:1 or even higher resonance, which is confirmed both semi-analytically and by limited numerical simulations. So the principal novelty of our paper is that the 3:2 end-state is more ancient than the same end-state obtained when the constant time lag model is employed. The swift capture justifies our treatment of Mercury as a homogeneous, unstratified body whose liquid core had not

  7. Recovery of mercury from acid waste residues

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greenhalgh, Wilbur O.

    1989-12-05

    Mercury can be recovered from nitric acid-containing fluids by reacting the fluid with aluminum metal to produce mercury metal, and then quenching the reactivity of the nitric acid prior to nitration of the mercury metal.

  8. Mercury Poisoning Linked to Skin Products

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Products For Consumers Home For Consumers Consumer Updates Mercury Poisoning Linked to Skin Products Share Tweet Linkedin ... and, in some situations, criminal prosecution. Dangers of Mercury Exposure to mercury can have serious health consequences. ...

  9. The Earth: A Changing Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ribas, Núria; Màrquez, Conxita

    2013-04-01

    text: We describe a didactic unit that rises from our own living impression about our experience on the planet. Most of us feel the Earth to be a very static place. Rocks don't easily move and most landscapes always look the same over time. Anyone would say (the same way most scientists believed until the beginning of the last century) that our planet has always remained unchanged, never transformed. But then, all of a sudden, as a misfortune for so many humans, natural hazards appear on the scene: an earthquake causing so many disasters, a tsunami carrying away everything in its path, an eruption that can destroy huge surrounding areas but also bring new geographical relief. Science cannot remain oblivious to these events, we must wonder beyond. What does an earthquake mean? Why does it happen? What about an eruption? If it comes from the inside, what can we guess from it? Researching about all of these events, scientists have been able to arrive to some important knowledge of the planet itself: It has been possible to theorize about Earth's interior. It has also been confirmed that the planet has not always been the quiet and stable place we once thought. Continents, as Wegener supposed, do move about and the Tectonic Plates Theory, thanks to the information obtained through earthquakes and eruption, can provide some interesting explanations. But how do we know about our planet's past? How can we prove that the Earth has always been moving and that its surface changes? The Earth's rocks yield the answer. Rocks have been the only witnesses throughout millions of years, since the planet first came to existence. Let's learn how to read them… Shouldn't we realize that rocks are to Geology what books are to History? This discursive process has been distributed in four learning sequences: 1. Land is not as solid nor firm as it would seem, 2. The Earth planet: a puzzle, 3. The rocks also recycle , 4. Field trip to "Sant Miquel del Fai". The subjects take about 30

  10. Global Volcanism on Mercury at About 3.8 Ga

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byrne, P. K.; Ostrach, L. R.; Denevi, B. W.; Head, J. W., III; Hauck, S. A., II; Murchie, S. L.; Solomon, S. C.

    2014-12-01

    Smooth plains occupy c. 27% of the surface of Mercury. Embayment relations, spectral contrast with surroundings, and morphologic characteristics indicate that the majority of these plains are volcanic. The largest deposits are located in Mercury's northern hemisphere and include the extensive northern plains (NP) and the Caloris interior and exterior plains (with the latter likely including basin material). Both the NP and Caloris deposits are, within statistical error, the same age (~3.8-3.9 Ga). To test whether this age reflects a period of global volcanism on Mercury, we determined crater size-frequency distributions for four smooth plains units in the planet's southern hemisphere interpreted to be volcanic. Two deposits are situated within the Beethoven and Tolstoj impact basins; two are located close to the Debussy and the Alver and Disney basins, respectively. Each deposit hosts two populations of craters, one that postdates plains emplacement and one that consists of partially to nearly filled craters that predate the plains. This latter population indicates that some time elapsed between formation of the underlying basement and plains volcanism, though we cannot statistically resolve this interval at any of the four sites. Nonetheless, we find that the age given by the superposed crater population in each case is ~3.8 Ga, and crater density values are consistent with those for the NP and Caloris plains. This finding supports a global phase of volcanism near the end of the late heavy bombardment of Mercury and may indicate a period of widespread partial melting of Mercury's mantle. Notably, superposition relations between smooth plains, degraded impact structures, and contractional landforms suggest that by this time interior cooling had already placed Mercury's lithosphere in horizontal compression, tending to inhibit voluminous dike-fed volcanism such as that inferred responsible for the NP. Most smooth plains units, including the Caloris plains and our

  11. Harmonic models of tide-generating potential of the terrestrial planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kudryavtsev, S. M.

    2008-04-01

    High-accurate harmonic development of the tide-generating potential (TGP) of Mercury, Venus and Mars is made. For that the planets TGP values were first calculated on the base of DE/LE-406 numerical ephemerides over a long period of time and then processed by a new spectral analysis method. A feature of the method is the development is directly made to Poisson series where both amplitudes and arguments of the series’ terms are high-degree polynomials of time. The new harmonic development of Mars TGP is made over the time period 1900-2100 and includes 767 second-order Poisson series’ terms of minimum amplitude equal to 10-7 m2 /s2 . Similar series composing the Mercury and Venus TGP models are built over the time period 1000-3000 and include 1,061 and 693 terms, respectively. A modification of the standard HW95 format for representation of the terrestrial planets TGP is proposed. The number of terms in the planetary TGP models transformed to the modified HW95 format is 650 for Mercury, 422 for Venus, and 480 for Mars.

  12. Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackwell, Stephen J.; Simon-Miller, Amy A.; Harder, Jerald W.; Bullock, Mark A.

    Public awareness of climate change on Earth is currently very high, promoting significant interest in atmospheric processes. We are fortunate to live in an era where it is possible to study the climates of many planets, including our own, using spacecraft and groundbased observations as well as advanced computational power that allows detailed modeling. Planetary atmospheric dynamics and structure are all governed by the same basic physics. Thus differences in the input variables (such as composition, internal structure, and solar radiation) among the known planets provide a broad suite of natural laboratory settings for gaining new understanding of these physical processes and their outcomes. Diverse planetary settings provide insightful comparisons to atmospheric processes and feedbacks on Earth, allowing a greater understanding of the driving forces and external influences on our own planetary climate. They also inform us in our search for habitable environments on planets orbiting distant stars, a topic that was a focus of Exoplanets, the preceding book in the University of Arizona Press Space Sciences Series. Quite naturally, and perhaps inevitably, our fascination with climate is largely driven toward investigating the interplay between the early development of life and the presence of a suitable planetary climate. Our understanding of how habitable planets come to be begins with the worlds closest to home. Venus, Earth, and Mars differ only modestly in their mass and distance from the Sun, yet their current climates could scarcely be more divergent. Our purpose for this book is to set forth the foundations for this emerging science and to bring to the forefront our current understanding of atmospheric formation and climate evolution. Although there is significant comparison to be made to atmospheric processes on nonterrestrial planets in our solar system — the gas and ice giants — here we focus on the terrestrial planets, leaving even broader comparisons

  13. Growing and moving planets in disks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Paardekooper, Sijme-Jan

    2006-01-01

    Planets form in disks that are commonly found around young stars. The intimate relationship that exists between planet and disk can account for a lot of the exotic extrasolar planetary systems known today. In this thesis we explore disk-planet interaction using numerical hydrodynamical simulations.

  14. The HARPS-N Rocky Planet Search

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Motalebi, F.; Udry, S.; Gillon, M.

    2015-01-01

    , still to be solved. We present here the detection of a system of four low-mass planets around the bright (V = 5.5) and close-by (6.5 pc) star HD 219134. This is the first result of the Rocky Planet Search programme with HARPS-N on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in La Palma. The inner planet orbits...

  15. The Use of Planisphere to Locate Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwok, Ping-Wai

    2013-01-01

    Planisphere is a simple and useful tool in locating constellations of the night sky at a specific time, date and geographic location. However it does not show the planet positions because planets are not fixed on the celestial sphere. It is known that the planet orbital planes are nearly coplanar and close to the ecliptic plane. By making…

  16. Three Small Planets Transiting a Hyades Star

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Livingston, John H.; Dai, Fei; Hirano, Teruyuki

    2018-01-01

    .55}-0.21+0.24 {R}\\oplus , respectively. With an age of 600–800 Myr, these planets are some of the smallest and youngest transiting planets known. Due to the relatively bright (J = 9.1) host star, the planets are compelling targets for future characterization via radial velocity mass measurements and transmission...

  17. ESA's Mercury mission named BepiColombo in honour of a space pioneer

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-09-01

    The mission to Mercury, now named after Prof. Colombo, is one of ESA's science programme "cornerstones". In the course of the comprehensive Horizon 2000 Plus review of the programme five years ago, it was identified by Europe's space scientists as one of the most challenging long-term planetary projects. Mercury is the least known of the inner planets. Its orbit close to the Sun makes it difficult to observe from a distance and hard to reach by spaceflight. As a result, big questions raised by the Mariner 10 flybys of a quarter of a century ago remain unanswered. "I am very pleased we have given the name of BepiColombo to our Mercury cornerstone. Bepi was a great scientist, a great European and a great friend; we could do no better than name one of our most challenging and imaginative missions after him" said Roger Bonnet, Director of ESA Science Programme. Scientists cannot claim to fully understand the origin and history of the Earth itself until they can make sense of Mercury. Why is the planet surprisingly dense ? Where does its magnetic field come from ? What were the effects of massive collisions suffered by Mercury, apparent in shattered zones seen by Mariner 10 ? Is Mercury geologically active ? How does its close proximity to the Sun affect its surface, its tenuous atmosphere and the small magnetic bubble, or magnetosphere, which surrounds it ? BepiColombo will seek the answers to these and other questions with three separate sets of scientific instruments. According to preliminary studies completed in April 1999, a Planetary Orbiter will examine the planet from an orbit over the poles, using two cameras and half a dozen other remote-sensing instruments. Seven detectors in a smaller Magnetospheric Orbiter will observe Mercury's magnetic field and its interactions with the solar wind. A Surface Element dropped by BepiColombo will land near one of the poles of Mercury, where the temperature is milder. Here the instruments will include a camera, a seismometer

  18. Mercury, Vaccines, and Autism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, Jeffrey P.

    2008-01-01

    The controversy regarding the once widely used mercury-containing preservative thimerosal in childhood vaccines has raised many historical questions that have not been adequately explored. Why was this preservative incorporated in the first place? Was there any real evidence that it caused harm? And how did thimerosal become linked in the public mind to the “autism epidemic”? I examine the origins of the thimerosal controversy and their legacy for the debate that has followed. More specifically, I explore the parallel histories of three factors that converged to create the crisis: vaccine preservatives, mercury poisoning, and autism. An understanding of this history provides important lessons for physicians and policymakers seeking to preserve the public’s trust in the nation’s vaccine system. PMID:18172138

  19. The 1:3M geologic map of Mercury: progress and updates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galluzzi, Valentina; Guzzetta, Laura; Mancinelli, Paolo; Giacomini, Lorenza; Malliband, Christopher C.; Mosca, Alessandro; Wright, Jack; Ferranti, Luigi; Massironi, Matteo; Pauselli, Cristina; Rothery, David A.; Palumbo, Pasquale

    2017-04-01

    After the end of Mariner 10 mission a 1:5M geologic map of seven of the fifteen quadrangles of Mercury [Spudis and Guest, 1988] was produced. The NASA MESSENGER mission filled the gap by imaging 100% of the planet with a global average resolution of 200 m/pixel and this led to the production of a global 1:15M geologic map of the planet [Prockter et al., 2016]. Despite the quality gap between Mariner 10 and MESSENGER images, no global geological mapping project with a scale larger than 1:5M has been proposed so far. Here we present the status of an ongoing project for the geologic mapping of Mercury at an average output scale of 1:3M based on the available MESSENGER data. This project will lead to a fuller grasp of the planet's stratigraphy and surface history. Completing such a product for Mercury is an important goal in preparation for the forthcoming ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission to aid selection of scientific targets and to provide context for interpretation of new data. At the time of this writing, H02 Victoria [Galluzzi et al., 2016], H03 Shakespeare [Guzzetta et al., 2016] and H04 Raditladi [Mancinelli et al., 2016] have been completed and H05 Hokusai [Rothery et al., 2017], H06 Kuiper [Giacomini et al., 2017], H07 Beethoven and H10 Derain [Malliband et al., 2017] are being mapped. The produced geologic maps were merged using the ESRI ArcGIS software adjusting discontinuous contacts along the quadrangle boundaries. Contact discrepancies were reviewed and discussed among the mappers of adjoining quadrangles in order to match the geological interpretation and provide a unique consistent stratigraphy. At the current stage, more than 20% of Mercury has now a complete 1:3M map and more than 40% of the planet will be covered soon by the maps that are being prepared. This research was supported by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) within the SIMBIOSYS project (ASI-INAF agreement no. I/022/10/0). References Galluzzi V. et al. (2016). Geology of the Victoria Quadrangle (H

  20. Mercury in Canadian crude oil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hollebone, B.P.

    2005-01-01

    Estimates for average mercury concentrations in crude oil range widely from 10 ng/g of oil to 3,500 ng/g of oil. With such a broad range of estimates, it is difficult to determine the contributions of the petroleum sector to the total budget of mercury emissions. In response to concerns that the combustion of petroleum products may be a major source of air-borne mercury pollution, Environment Canada and the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute has undertaken a survey of the average total mercury concentration in crude oil processed in Canadian refineries. In order to calculate the potential upper limit of total mercury in all refined products, samples of more than 30 different types of crude oil collected from refineries were measured for their concentration of mercury as it enters into a refinery before processing. High temperature combustion, cold vapour atomic absorption and cold vapour atomic fluorescence were the techniques used to quantify mercury in the samples. The results of the study provide information on the total mass of mercury present in crude oil processed in Canada each year. Results can be used to determine the impact of vehicle exhaust emissions to the overall Canadian mercury emission budget. 17 refs., 2 tabs., 2 figs

  1. Method for mercury refinement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grossman, M.W.; Speer, R.; George, W.A.

    1991-04-09

    The effluent from mercury collected during the photochemical separation of the [sup 196]Hg isotope is often contaminated with particulate mercurous chloride, Hg[sub 2]Cl[sub 2]. The use of mechanical filtering via thin glass tubes, ultrasonic rinsing with acetone (dimethyl ketone) and a specially designed cold trap have been found effective in removing the particulate (i.e., solid) Hg[sub 2]Cl[sub 2] contaminant. The present invention is particularly directed to such filtering. 5 figures.

  2. Apparatus for mercury refinement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grossman, M.W.; Speer, R.; George, W.A.

    1991-07-16

    The effluent from mercury collected during the photochemical separation of the [sup 196]Hg isotope is often contaminated with particulate mercurous chloride, Hg[sub 2]Cl[sub 2]. The use of mechanical filtering via thin glass tubes, ultrasonic rinsing with acetone (dimethyl ketone) and a specially designed cold trap have been found effective in removing the particulate (i.e., solid) Hg[sub 2]Cl[sub 2] contaminant. The present invention is particularly directed to such filtering. 5 figures.

  3. Apparatus for mercury refinement

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Grossman, M.W.; Speer, R.; George, W.A.

    1991-01-01

    The effluent from mercury collected during the photochemical separation of the 196 Hg isotope is often contaminated with particulate mercurous chloride, Hg 2 Cl 2 . The use of mechanical filtering via thin glass tubes, ultrasonic rinsing with acetone (dimethyl ketone) and a specially designed cold trap have been found effective in removing the particulate (i.e., solid) Hg 2 Cl 2 contaminant. The present invention is particularly directed to such filtering. 5 figures

  4. Method for scavenging mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Shih-ger [El Cerrito, CA; Liu, Shou-heng [Kaohsiung, TW; Liu, Zhao-rong [Beijing, CN; Yan, Naiqiang [Berkeley, CA

    2009-01-20

    Disclosed herein is a method for removing mercury from a gas stream comprising contacting the gas stream with a getter composition comprising bromine, bromochloride, sulphur bromide, sulphur dichloride or sulphur monochloride and mixtures thereof. In one preferred embodiment the getter composition is adsorbed onto a sorbent. The sorbent may be selected from the group consisting of flyash, limestone, lime, calcium sulphate, calcium sulfite, activated carbon, charcoal, silicate, alumina and mixtures thereof. Preferred is flyash, activated carbon and silica.

  5. Amount, Timing, and Rate of Global Contraction on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klimczak, C.; Byrne, P. K.; Banks, M. E.; Solomon, S. C.

    2015-12-01

    Mercury's surface hosts a large number of thrust-fault-related landforms that primarily accommodated global contraction driven by interior cooling. The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft returned a wealth of data that allow for a detailed characterization of the amount and timing of that contraction. In particular, mapping of thrust-fault-related landforms shows that the planet experienced a radius decrease of 5.1±2 km since the end of heavy bombardment. Cross-cutting relationships of thrust faults with impact craters of different degradation stages indicate that global contraction operated throughout much of Mercury's past, with the earliest evidence for faulting dating from near the time of cessation of widespread plains volcanism. An assessment of the brittle strength of Mercury's lithosphere indicates that 0.4±0.1 to 2.1±0.4 km of radius change is necessary for stresses to be sufficiently large to overcome the frictional resistance to sliding on pre-existing fractures and faults. These values not only increase estimates for the overall amount of global contraction but also imply that this process was initiated before any evidence of shortening in the geologic record was manifest as brittle deformation. Together, these observations and results have implications for the rate at which global contraction operated through Mercury's geologic history. Higher initial strain rates are required if the radial contraction prior to the initiation of thrust faulting was ~2.1 km, and are possible but not required if the radial contraction accommodated prior to the onset of thrust faulting was ~0.4 km. These findings incorporate an aspect of global contraction not previously considered, as well as a contribution to radius change beyond that inferable from mapping. This approach is applicable to inferences on global contraction from tectonic mapping, and constraints on thermal histories, for any world dominated by secular

  6. Global Particle-in-Cell Simulations of Mercury's Magnetosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schriver, D.; Travnicek, P. M.; Lapenta, G.; Amaya, J.; Gonzalez, D.; Richard, R. L.; Berchem, J.; Hellinger, P.

    2017-12-01

    Spacecraft observations of Mercury's magnetosphere have shown that kinetic ion and electron particle effects play a major role in the transport, acceleration, and loss of plasma within the magnetospheric system. Kinetic processes include reconnection, the breakdown of particle adiabaticity and wave-particle interactions. Because of the vast range in spatial scales involved in magnetospheric dynamics, from local electron Debye length scales ( meters) to solar wind/planetary magnetic scale lengths (tens to hundreds of planetary radii), fully self-consistent kinetic simulations of a global planetary magnetosphere remain challenging. Most global simulations of Earth's and other planet's magnetosphere are carried out using MHD, enhanced MHD (e.g., Hall MHD), hybrid, or a combination of MHD and particle in cell (PIC) simulations. Here, 3D kinetic self-consistent hybrid (ion particle, electron fluid) and full PIC (ion and electron particle) simulations of the solar wind interaction with Mercury's magnetosphere are carried out. Using the implicit PIC and hybrid simulations, Mercury's relatively small, but highly kinetic magnetosphere will be examined to determine how the self-consistent inclusion of electrons affects magnetic reconnection, particle transport and acceleration of plasma at Mercury. Also the spatial and energy profiles of precipitating magnetospheric ions and electrons onto Mercury's surface, which can strongly affect the regolith in terms of space weathering and particle outflow, will be examined with the PIC and hybrid codes. MESSENGER spacecraft observations are used both to initiate and validate the global kinetic simulations to achieve a deeper understanding of the role kinetic physics play in magnetospheric dynamics.

  7. Mercury removal sorbents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alptekin, Gokhan

    2016-03-29

    Sorbents and methods of using them for removing mercury from flue gases over a wide range of temperatures are disclosed. Sorbent materials of this invention comprise oxy- or hydroxyl-halogen (chlorides and bromides) of manganese, copper and calcium as the active phase for Hg.sup.0 oxidation, and are dispersed on a high surface porous supports. In addition to the powder activated carbons (PACs), this support material can be comprised of commercial ceramic supports such as silica (SiO.sub.2), alumina (Al.sub.2O.sub.3), zeolites and clays. The support material may also comprise of oxides of various metals such as iron, manganese, and calcium. The non-carbon sorbents of the invention can be easily injected into the flue gas and recovered in the Particulate Control Device (PCD) along with the fly ash without altering the properties of the by-product fly ash enabling its use as a cement additive. Sorbent materials of this invention effectively remove both elemental and oxidized forms of mercury from flue gases and can be used at elevated temperatures. The sorbent combines an oxidation catalyst and a sorbent in the same particle to both oxidize the mercury and then immobilize it.

  8. Infrared spectroscopy of Mercury analogue materials under simulated Mercury surface temperature conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reitze, Maximilian; Morlok, Andreas; Hiesinger, Harald; Weber, Iris; Stojic, Aleksandra

    2017-04-01

    used a commercial diffuse reflectance gold standard (INFRAGOLD). Our results confirm the temperature-dependent shift of the strongest silicate feature in olivine spectra observed by [5]. For the shift of the peak position of this feature we calculated a shift function depending on the temperature in the form of Rmax[μ m]=0.00027μ m/K\\cdot x[K]+10.454μ m (R^2=0.92). Differences in the intensity of the spectra between [5] and our work are most likely due to smaller grain sizes of our samples. We are also planning on presenting results obtained from evacuated samples (down to 10-6 mbar), which are close to pressures existing on Mercury. References} [1] A. Maturilli, J. Helbert, A. Witzke, and L. Moroz, Planet. Space Sci., 54:1057-1064, 2006. [2] H. Hiesinger, J. Helbert, and MERTIS Co-I Team, Planet. Space Sci., 58:144-165, 2010. [3] M. A. Slade, B. J. Butler, and D. O. Muhleman, Science, 258:635-640, 1992. [4] C. M. Pieters and P. A. J. Englert, editors. Topics in Remote Sensing 4. Remote Geo-chemical Analysis: Elemental and Mineralogical Composition. Cambridge University Press, 1993. [5] J. Helbert, F. Nestola, S. Ferrari, A. Maturilli, M. Massironi, G. J. Redhammer, M. T. Capria, F. Capaccioni, and M. Bruno, EPSL, 371-372:252-257, 2013.

  9. Inhibition of solar wind impingement on Mercury by planetary induction currents

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hood, L.L.; Schubert, G.

    1979-01-01

    The simple compression of a planetary magnetosphere by varying solar wind stagnation pressure is limited by currents induced in the electrically conducting parts of the planet. This inhibition is especially important for Mercury, since the radius of the electrically conducting iron core is a large fraction of the planetary radius, which in turn is a significant fraction of the subsolar magnetospheric radius b. Previous treatments of solar wind standoff distance variations at Mercury using the terrestrial analogue b 6 assumption have neglected this phenomenon. Using the lowest suggested value of the planetary dipole moment, 2.4 x 10 22 G cm 3 , we estimate that a minimum pressure of approx.38P 0 where P 0 is the external stagnation pressure in the steady state, is required to force the standoff distance down to the subsolar surface of Mercury if the pressure change persists for at least 1 day. This value is 4.3 times that which would be predicted if Mercury had no core, and it is larger than the maximum pressure predicted at Mercury's orbit (approx.25P 0 ) on the basis of hourly averaged solar wind statistics at 1 AU. Thus a direct interaction at any time of solar wind plasma with the surface of Mercury due to external compression effects alone is unlikely for solar wind conditions similar to those at present

  10. Large Impact Basins on Mercury: Global Distribution, Characteristics, and Modification History from MESSENGER Orbital Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fassett, Caleb I.; Head, James W.; Baker, David M. H.; Zuber, Maria T.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Solomon, Sean C.; Klimczak, Christian; Strom, Robert G.; Chapman, Clark R.; Prockter, Louise M.; hide

    2012-01-01

    The formation of large impact basins (diameter D greater than or equal to 300 km) was an important process in the early evolution of Mercury and influenced the planet's topography, stratigraphy, and crustal structure. We catalog and characterize this basin population on Mercury from global observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft, and we use the new data to evaluate basins suggested on the basis of the Mariner 10 flybys. Forty-two certain or probable impact basins are recognized a few additional basins that may have been degraded to the point of ambiguity are plausible on the basis of new data but are classified as uncertain. The spatial density of large basins (D greater than or equal to 500 km) on Mercury is lower than that on the Moon. Morphological characteristics of basins on Mercury suggest that on average they are more degraded than lunar basins. These observations are consistent with more efficient modification, degradation, and obliteration of the largest basins on Mercury than on the Moon. This distinction may be a result of differences in the basin formation process (producing fewer rings), greater relaxation of topography after basin formation (subduing relief), and/or higher rates of volcanism during the period of heavy bombardment on Mercury compared to the Moon (burying basin rings and interiors).

  11. Towards the Rosetta Stone of planet formation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Schmidt T.O.B.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Transiting exoplanets (TEPs observed just ~10 Myrs after formation of their host systems may serve as the Rosetta Stone for planet formation theories. They would give strong constraints on several aspects of planet formation, e.g. time-scales (planet formation would then be possible within 10 Myrs, the radius of the planet could indicate whether planets form by gravitational collapse (being larger when young or accretion growth (being smaller when young. We present a survey, the main goal of which is to find and then characterise TEPs in very young open clusters.

  12. Observing Mercury: from Galileo to the stereo camera on the BepiColombo mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cremonese, Gabriele; Da Deppo, Vania; Naletto, Giampiero; Martellato, Elena; Debei, Stefano; Barbieri, Cesare; Bettanini, Carlo; Capria, Maria T.; Massironi, Matteo; Zaccariotto, Mirko

    2010-01-01

    After having observed the planets from his house in Padova using his telescope, in January 1611 Galileo wrote to Giuliano de Medici that Venus is moving around the Sun as Mercury. Forty years ago, Giuseppe Colombo, professor of Celestial Mechanics in Padova, made a decisive step to clarify the rotational period of Mercury. Today, scientists and engineers of the Astronomical Observatory of Padova and of the University of Padova, reunited in the Center for Space Studies and Activities (CISAS) named after Giuseppe Colombo, are busy to realize a stereo camera (STC) that will be on board the European (ESA) and Japanese (JAXA) space mission BepiColombo, devoted to the observation and exploration of the innermost planet. This paper will describe the stereo camera, which is one of the channels of the SIMBIOSYS instrument, aiming to produce the global mapping of the surface with 3D images.

  13. Types of Information Expected from a Photometric Search for Extra-Solar Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borucki, William; Koch, David; Bell, James, III; Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    The current theory postulates that planets are a consequence of the formation of stars from viscous accretion disks. Condensation from the hotter, inner portion of the accretion disk favors the formation of small rocky planets in the inner portion and the formation of gas giants in the cuter, cooler part. Consequently, terrestrial-type planets in inner orbits must be commonplace (Wetheril 1991). From the geometry of the situation (Borucki and Summers 1984), it can be shown that 1% of those planetary systems that resemble our solar system should show transits for Earth-sized (or larger) planets. Thus a photometric satellite that uses a wide field of view telescope and a large CCD array to simultaneously monitor 5000 target stars should detect 50 planetary systems. To verify that regularly recurring transits are occurring rather than statistical fluctuations of the stellar flux, demands observations that extend over several orbital periods so that the constancy of the orbital period, signal amplitude, and duration can be measured. Therefore, to examine the region from Mercury's orbit to that of the Earth requires a duration of three years whereas a search out to the orbit of mars requires about six years. The results of the observations should provide estimates of the distributions of planetary size and orbital radius, and the frequency of planetary systems that have Earth-sized planets in inner orbits. Because approximately one half of the star systems observed will be binary systems, the frequency of planetary systems orbit ' ing either one or both of the stars can also be determined. Furthermore, the complexity of the photometric signature of a planet transiting a pair of stars provides enough information to estimate the eccentricities of the planetary orbits. In summary, the statistical evidence from a photometric search of solar-like stars should be able to either confirm or deny the applicability of the current theory of planet formation and provide new

  14. AN ANCIENT EXTRASOLAR SYSTEM WITH FIVE SUB-EARTH-SIZE PLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Campante, T. L.; Davies, G. R.; Chaplin, W. J.; Handberg, R.; Barclay, T.; Huber, D.; Burke, C. J.; Quintana, E. V.; Swift, J. J.; Adibekyan, V. Zh.; Cochran, W.; Isaacson, H.; Silva Aguirre, V.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, J.; Metcalfe, T. S.; Bedding, T. R.; Ragozzine, D.; Riddle, R.; Baranec, C.; Basu, S.

    2015-01-01

    The chemical composition of stars hosting small exoplanets (with radii less than four Earth radii) appears to be more diverse than that of gas-giant hosts, which tend to be metal-rich. This implies that small, including Earth-size, planets may have readily formed at earlier epochs in the universe's history when metals were more scarce. We report Kepler spacecraft observations of Kepler-444, a metal-poor Sun-like star from the old population of the Galactic thick disk and the host to a compact system of five transiting planets with sizes between those of Mercury and Venus. We validate this system as a true five-planet system orbiting the target star and provide a detailed characterization of its planetary and orbital parameters based on an analysis of the transit photometry. Kepler-444 is the densest star with detected solar-like oscillations. We use asteroseismology to directly measure a precise age of 11.2 ± 1.0 Gyr for the host star, indicating that Kepler-444 formed when the universe was less than 20% of its current age and making it the oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets. We thus show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the universe's 13.8 billion year history, leaving open the possibility for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy. The age of Kepler-444 not only suggests that thick-disk stars were among the hosts to the first Galactic planets, but may also help to pinpoint the beginning of the era of planet formation

  15. AN ANCIENT EXTRASOLAR SYSTEM WITH FIVE SUB-EARTH-SIZE PLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Campante, T. L.; Davies, G. R.; Chaplin, W. J.; Handberg, R. [School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT (United Kingdom); Barclay, T.; Huber, D.; Burke, C. J.; Quintana, E. V. [NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Swift, J. J. [Department of Astronomy and Department of Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology, MC 249-17, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Adibekyan, V. Zh. [Centro de Astrofísica, Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto (Portugal); Cochran, W. [Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory, The University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712-1205 (United States); Isaacson, H. [Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States); Silva Aguirre, V.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, J.; Metcalfe, T. S.; Bedding, T. R. [Stellar Astrophysics Centre (SAC), Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 120, DK-8000 Aarhus C (Denmark); Ragozzine, D. [Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 (United States); Riddle, R. [Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Baranec, C. [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai' i at Mānoa, Hilo, HI 96720-2700 (United States); Basu, S., E-mail: campante@bison.ph.bham.ac.uk [Department of Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 (United States); and others

    2015-02-01

    The chemical composition of stars hosting small exoplanets (with radii less than four Earth radii) appears to be more diverse than that of gas-giant hosts, which tend to be metal-rich. This implies that small, including Earth-size, planets may have readily formed at earlier epochs in the universe's history when metals were more scarce. We report Kepler spacecraft observations of Kepler-444, a metal-poor Sun-like star from the old population of the Galactic thick disk and the host to a compact system of five transiting planets with sizes between those of Mercury and Venus. We validate this system as a true five-planet system orbiting the target star and provide a detailed characterization of its planetary and orbital parameters based on an analysis of the transit photometry. Kepler-444 is the densest star with detected solar-like oscillations. We use asteroseismology to directly measure a precise age of 11.2 ± 1.0 Gyr for the host star, indicating that Kepler-444 formed when the universe was less than 20% of its current age and making it the oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets. We thus show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the universe's 13.8 billion year history, leaving open the possibility for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy. The age of Kepler-444 not only suggests that thick-disk stars were among the hosts to the first Galactic planets, but may also help to pinpoint the beginning of the era of planet formation.

  16. The Gemini Deep Planet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lafrenière, David; Doyon, René; Marois, Christian; Nadeau, Daniel; Oppenheimer, Ben R.; Roche, Patrick F.; Rigaut, François; Graham, James R.; Jayawardhana, Ray; Johnstone, Doug; Kalas, Paul G.; Macintosh, Bruce; Racine, René

    2007-12-01

    We present the results of the Gemini Deep Planet Survey, a near-infrared adaptive optics search for giant planets and brown dwarfs around 85 nearby young stars. The observations were obtained with the Altair adaptive optics system at the Gemini North telescope, and angular differential imaging was used to suppress the speckle noise of the central star. Typically, the observations are sensitive to angular separations beyond 0.5" with 5 σ contrast sensitivities in magnitude difference at 1.6 μm of 9.5 at 0.5", 12.9 at 1", 15.0 at 2", and 16.5 at 5". These sensitivities are sufficient to detect planets more massive than 2 MJ with a projected separation in the range 40-200 AU around a typical target. Second-epoch observations of 48 stars with candidates (out of 54) have confirmed that all candidates are unrelated background stars. A detailed statistical analysis of the survey results is presented. Assuming a planet mass distribution dn/dm~m-1.2 and a semimajor-axis distribution dn/da~a-1, the 95% credible upper limits on the fraction of stars with at least one planet of mass 0.5-13 MJ are 0.28 for the range 10-25 AU, 0.13 for 25-50 AU, and 0.093 for 50-250 AU; this result is weakly dependent on the semimajor-axis distribution power-law index. The 95% credible interval for the fraction of stars with at least one brown dwarf companion having a semimajor axis in the range 25-250 AU is 0.019+0.083-0.015, irrespective of any assumption on the mass and semimajor-axis distributions. The observations made as part of this survey have resolved the stars HD 14802, HD 166181, and HD 213845 into binaries for the first time. Based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (United Kingdom), the National

  17. Three Small Planets Transiting a Hyades Star

    Science.gov (United States)

    Livingston, John H.; Dai, Fei; Hirano, Teruyuki; Gandolfi, Davide; Nowak, Grzegorz; Endl, Michael; Velasco, Sergio; Fukui, Akihiko; Narita, Norio; Prieto-Arranz, Jorge; Barragan, Oscar; Cusano, Felice; Albrecht, Simon; Cabrera, Juan; Cochran, William D.; Csizmadia, Szilard; Deeg, Hans J.; Eigmüller, Philipp; Erikson, Anders; Fridlund, Malcolm; Grziwa, Sascha; Guenther, Eike W.; Hatzes, Artie P.; Kawauchi, Kiyoe; Korth, Judith; Nespral, David; Palle, Enric; Pätzold, Martin; Persson, Carina M.; Rauer, Heike; Smith, Alexis M. S.; Tamura, Motohide; Tanaka, Yusuke; Van Eylen, Vincent; Watanabe, Noriharu; Winn, Joshua N.

    2018-03-01

    We present the discovery of three small planets transiting K2-136 (LP 358 348, EPIC 247589423), a late K dwarf in the Hyades. The planets have orbital periods of 7.9757 ± 0.0011, {17.30681}-0.00036+0.00034, and {25.5715}-0.0040+0.0038 {days}, and radii of 1.05 ± 0.16, 3.14 ± 0.36, and {1.55}-0.21+0.24 {R}\\oplus , respectively. With an age of 600–800 Myr, these planets are some of the smallest and youngest transiting planets known. Due to the relatively bright (J = 9.1) host star, the planets are compelling targets for future characterization via radial velocity mass measurements and transmission spectroscopy. As the first known star with multiple transiting planets in a cluster, the system should be helpful for testing theories of planet formation and migration.

  18. The Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ken Rice

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available We have now confirmed the existence of > 1800 planets orbiting stars other thanthe Sun; known as extrasolar planets or exoplanets. The different methods for detectingsuch planets are sensitive to different regions of parameter space, and so, we are discoveringa wide diversity of exoplanets and exoplanetary systems. Characterizing such planets isdifficult, but we are starting to be able to determine something of their internal compositionand are beginning to be able to probe their atmospheres, the first step towards the detectionof bio-signatures and, hence, determining if a planet could be habitable or not. Here, Iwill review how we detect exoplanets, how we characterize exoplanetary systems and theexoplanets themselves, where we stand with respect to potentially habitable planets and howwe are progressing towards being able to actually determine if a planet could host life or not.

  19. The thermal evolution and dynamo generation of Mercury with an Fe-Si core

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knibbe, Jurrien

    2017-04-01

    The present day partially liquid (as opposed to fully solidified) Fe-rich core of Mercury is traditionally explained by assuming a substantial amount of S to be present in the core (e.g. Grott et al., 2011), because S lowers the core's melting temperature. However, this assumption has problematic implications: Mercury's large Fe-rich core and measured low FeO surface content are indicative of an oxygen poor bulk composition, which is consistent with the volatile-poor material that is expected to have condensed from the solar nebula close to the Sun. In contrast, S is a moderately volatile element. Combined with the high S content of Mercury's crust and (likely) mantle, as indicated by the measured high S/Si surface fraction, the resulting high planetary S abundance is difficult to reconcile with a volatile poor origin of the planet. Additionally, the observed low magnetic field strength is most easily explained if compositional buoyancy fluxes are absent [Manglik et al., 2010], yet such fluxes are produced upon solidifying a pure Fe inner core from Fe-S liquid. Alternatively, both Mercury's high S/Si and Mg/Si surface ratios (Nittler et al., 2011) may indicate that a siderophile fractionation of Si and lithophile fractionation of S took place during Mercury's core-mantle differentiation. This fractionation behaviour of these elements is supported by metal/silicate partitioning experiments that have been performed at the low oxygen conditions inferred for Mercury [e.g. Chabot et al., 2014]. Mercury's bulk composition, in terms of S/Si and Fe/Si ratios, would also approach that of meteorites that are considered as potential building blocks of the planet if the core is Si-rich and S-poor. Here we simulate the thermal evolution of Mercury with an Fe-Si core. Results show that an Fe-Si core can remain largely molten until present, without the need for S. An Fe-Si core also has interesting implications for Mercury's core-convection regime and magnetic field generation

  20. Examining the Possibility of Carbon as a Light Element in the Core of Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vander Kaaden, Kathleen; McCubbin, Francis M.; Turner, Amber; Ross, D. Kent

    2017-01-01

    Results from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have shown elevated abundances of C on the surface of Mercury. Peplowski et al. used GRS data from MESSENGER to show an average northern hemisphere abundance of C on the planet of 0 to 4.1 wt% C at the three-sigma detection limit. Confirmation of C on the planet prompts many questions regarding the role of C during the differentiation and evolution of Mercury. The elevated abundances of both S and C on Mercury's surface, coupled with the low abundances of iron, suggest that the oxygen fugacity of the planet is several log10 units below the Iron-Wustite buffer. These observations spark questions about the bulk composition of Mercury's core. This experimental study seeks to understand the impact of C as a light element on potential mercurian core compositions. In order to address this question, experiments were conducted at 1 GPa and a variety of temperatures (700 - 1500 C) on metal compositions ranging from Si5Fe95 to Si22Fe78, possibly representative of the mercurian core. All starting metals were completely enclosed in a graphite capsule to ensure C saturation at a given set of run conditions. All elements, including C, were analyzed using electron probe microanalysis. Precautions were taken to ensure accurate measurements of C with this technique including using the LDE2 crystal, the cold finger on the microprobe to minimize contamination and increase the vacuum, and an instrument with no oil based pumps. Based on the superliquidus experimental results in the present study, as Fe-rich cores become more Si-rich, the C content of that core composition will decrease. Furthermore, although C concentration at graphite saturation (CCGS) varies from a liquid to a solid, temperature does not seem to play a substantial role in CCGS, at least at 1 GPa.

  1. MESSENGER Observations of Extreme Loading and Unloading of Mercury's Magnetic Tail

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A.; Anderson, Brian J.; Baker, Daniel N.; Benna, Mehdi; Boardsen, Scott A.; Gloeckler, George; Gold, Robert E.; Ho, George C.; Korth, Haje; Krimigis, Stamatios M.; hide

    2010-01-01

    During MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury, the magnetic field in the planet's magnetotail increased by factors of 2 to 3.5 over intervals of 2 to 3 min. Magnetospheric substorms at Earth are powered by similar tail loading, but the amplitude is approx.10 times less and typical durations are approx.1 hour. The extreme tail loading observed at Mercury implies that the relative intensity of sub storms must be much larger than at Earth. The correspondence between the duration of tail field enhancements and the characteristic time for the Dungey cycle, which describes plasma circulation through Mercury's magnetosphere. suggests that such circulation determines substorm timescale. A key aspect of tail unloading during terrestrial substorms is the acceleration of energetic charged particles, but no acceleration signatures were seen during the MESSENGER flyby.

  2. Theory of the Mercury's spin-orbit motion and analysis of its main librations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rambaux, N.; Bois, E.

    2004-01-01

    The 3:2 spin-orbit resonance between the rotational and orbital motions of Mercury (the periods are Pφ = 56.646 and P&lambda = 87.969 days respectively) results from a functional dependance of the tidal friction adding to a non-zero eccentricity and a permanent asymmetry in the equatorial plane of the planet. The upcoming space missions, MESSENGER and BepiColombo with onboard instrumentation capable of measuring the rotational parameters stimulate the objective to reach an accurate theory of the rotational motion of Mercury. For obtaining the real motion of Mercury, we have used our BJV model of solar system integration including the coupled spin-orbit motion of the Moon. This model, expanded in a relativistic framework, had been previously built in accordance with the requirements of the Lunar Laser Ranging observational accuracy. We have extended the BJV model by generalizing the spin-orbit couplings to the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars). The updated model is called SONYR (acronym of Spin-Orbit N-BodY Relativistic model). As a consequence, the SONYR model gives an accurate simultaneous integration of the spin-orbit motion of Mercury. It permits one to analyze the different families of rotational librations and identify their causes such as planetary interactions or the parameters involved in the dynamical figure of the planet. The spin-orbit motion of Mercury is characterized by two proper frequencies (namely Φ = 15.847 yrs and Ψ= 1066 yrs) and its 3:2 resonance presents a second synchronism which can be understood as a spin-orbit secular resonance (Π = 278 898 yrs). A new determination of the mean obliquity is proposed in the paper. By using the SONYR model, we find a mean obliquity of 1.6 arcmin. This value is consistent with the Cassini state of Mercury. Besides, we identify in the Hermean librations the impact of the uncertainty of the greatest principal moment of inertia (C/M R2) on the obliquity and on the libration in longitude

  3. Planet Detection: The Kepler Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenkins, Jon M.; Smith, Jeffrey C.; Tenenbaum, Peter; Twicken, Joseph D.; Van Cleve, Jeffrey

    2012-03-01

    The search for exoplanets is one of the hottest topics in astronomy and astrophysics in the twenty-first century, capturing the public's attention as well as that of the astronomical community. This nascent field was conceived in 1989 with the discovery of a candidate planetary companion to HD114762 [35] and was born in 1995 with the discovery of the first extrasolar planet 51 Peg-b [37] orbiting a main sequence star. As of March, 2011, over 500 exoplanets have been discovered* and 106 are known to transit or cross their host star, as viewed from Earth. Of these transiting planets, 15 have been announced by the Kepler Mission, which was launched into an Earth-trailing, heliocentric orbit in March, 2009 [1,4,6,15,18,20,22,31,32,34,36,43]. In addition, over 1200 candidate transiting planets have already been detected by Kepler [5], and vigorous follow-up observations are being conducted to vet these candidates. As the false-positive rate for Kepler is expected to be quite low [39], Kepler has effectively tripled the number of known exoplanets. Moreover, Kepler will provide an unprecedented data set in terms of photometric precision, duration, contiguity, and number of stars. Kepler's primary science objective is to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets transiting their Sun-like host stars in the habitable zone, that range of orbital distances for which liquid water would pool on the surface of a terrestrial planet such as Earth, Mars, or Venus. This daunting task demands an instrument capable of measuring the light output from each of over 100,000 stars simultaneously with an unprecedented photometric precision of 20 parts per million (ppm) at 6.5-h intervals. The large number of stars is required because the probability of the geometrical alignment of planetary orbits that permit observation of transits is the ratio of the size of the star to the size of the planetary orbit. For Earth-like planets in 1-astronomical unit (AU) orbits† about sun-like stars

  4. Geology and Stratigraphy of Four Candidate Pyroclastic Deposits on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weinauer, Julia; Hiesinger, Harald; Bauch, Karin; Preusker, Frank

    2016-04-01

    The MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft [1] to Mercury revealed numerous new findings, including the discovery of potential pyroclastic deposits [2-9]. Besides impact cratering, volcanic processes, including the deposition of pyroclastic materials are among the most important processes to shape the surface of a planet. Volcanic processes allow us to study the thermal evolution of the planet, and impacts provide insights into the composition of the crust, and possible the mantle. In this study we focus on four specific examples of potential pyroclastic deposits: Lermontov NE (-48.15°E, 15.80°), Lermontov SE (-49.08°E, 15.04°), Glinka (-112.42°E, 15.01°), and Unnamed crater 7 (88.20°E, 32.40°). For our investigation we used data of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) [10]. In particular we studied narrow-angle Camera (NAC) images with a resolution of 25-100 m/pixel and wide-angle camera (WAC) images with a resolution of about 170-250 m/pixel. Our data set is complemented by Digital Terrain Models (DTM) based on photogrammetric analyses of stereo images [11]. The objectives of this study are to investigate the geologic context of the pyroclastic deposits, to map their morphological/compositional sub-units in detail, to derive volume estimates for these deposits, to study their eruption conditions, and to derive information on the timing of the emplacement of these units. In addition, absolute model ages are determined to develop a stratigraphy of the mapped units Several morphologic features were observed in association with the pyroclastic deposits, including lobate scarps, melt pools, and large irregular depressions, as well as small-scale irregularly shaped, shallow, rimless depressions, i.e., hollows [2]. In Lermontov, the large irregular depressions that can be plausibly interpreted as vent structures [6,7] occur within a roughly circular depression of about 50 km in diameter, located in the center of

  5. 49 CFR 173.164 - Mercury (metallic and articles containing mercury).

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 49 Transportation 2 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Mercury (metallic and articles containing mercury... Than Class 1 and Class 7 § 173.164 Mercury (metallic and articles containing mercury). (a) For transportation by aircraft, mercury must be packaged in packagings which meet the requirements of part 178 of...

  6. Mercury concentration in bivalve molluscs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Szkoda Józef

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available A total of 85 mussel samples of eight species were examined. Analysis of mercury in the freeze-dried samples was carried out by atomic absorption spectrometry method using direct mercury analyser AMA 254. The analytical procedure for determination of mercury was covered by the quality assurance programme of research and participation in national and international proficiency tests. Concentrations of total mercury in all investigated samples were found to be generally low, in the range of 0.033-0.577 mg/kg of dry weight and of 0.003-0.045 mg/kg of wet weight. The results indicate that obtained levels of mercury in bivalve molluscs are not likely to pose a risk to the health of consumers.

  7. The Gravity Field, Orientation, and Ephemeris of Mercury from MESSENGER Observations After Three Years in Orbit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazarico, Erwan M.; Genova, Antonio; Goossens, Sander; Lemoine, Gregory; Neumann, Gregory A.; Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.; Solomon, Sean C.

    2014-01-01

    We have analyzed three years of radio tracking data from the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around Mercury and determined the gravity field, planetary orientation, and ephemeris of the innermost planet. With improvements in spatial coverage, force modeling, and data weighting, we refined an earlier global gravity field both in quality and resolution, and we present here a spherical harmonic solution to degree and order 50. In this field, termed HgM005, uncertainties in low-degree coefficients are reduced by an order of magnitude relative to the earlier global field, and we obtained a preliminary value of the tidal Love number k(sub 2) of 0.451+/-0.014. We also estimated Mercury's pole position, and we obtained an obliquity value of 2.06 +/- 0.16 arcmin, in good agreement with analysis of Earth-based radar observations. From our updated rotation period (58.646146 +/- 0.000011 days) and Mercury ephemeris, we verified experimentally the planet's 3: 2 spin-orbit resonance to greater accuracy than previously possible. We present a detailed analysis of the HgM005 covariance matrix, and we describe some near-circular frozen orbits around Mercury that could be advantageous for future exploration.

  8. Updated science issues and observation plans of BepiColombo Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murakami, G.; Fujimoto, M.; Hayakawa, H.

    2017-12-01

    After the successful observation by the first Mercury orbiter MESSENGER ended in 2015, Mercury becomes one of the most curious planets to investigate. MESSENGER raised new science issues, such as the northward offset of planetary dipole magnetic filed, the highly dynamic magnetosphere, and the year-to-year constant exosphere. These outstanding discoveries still remain as open issues due to some limitations of instruments onboard MESSENGER and its extended elliptical orbit with apherm in southern hemisphere. The next Mercury exploration project BepiColombo will address these open issues. BepiColombo is an ESA-JAXA joint mission to Mercury with the aim to understand the process of planetary formation and evolution as well as to understand Mercury's extreme environment in the solar system. Two spacecraft, i.e. the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), will be launched in October 2018 by an Ariane-5 launch vehicle and arrive at Mercury in December 2025. The mechanical test in a complete stack configuration has been performed in the ESA test center and successfully finished. MMO is mainly designed for plasma observations and is expected to extract essential elements of space plasma physics that become visible in the Hermean environment. MMO has large constraints on science operations, such as thermal issue and limited telemetry rate. Due to the thermal issue each science instrument cannot always be turned on. In addition, due to the low telemetry rate in average, only a part ( 20-30%) of science mission data with high resolution can be downlinked. Therefore, in order to maximize the scientific results and outcomes to be achieved by MMO, we are now working to optimize the science observation and downlink plans in detail. Here we present the updated science goals for MMO based on the latest MESSENGER results and the current observation plans how to approach these science issues.

  9. Trapping Dust to Form Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2017-10-01

    Growing a planet from a dust grain is hard work! A new study explores how vortices in protoplanetary disks can assist this process.When Dust Growth FailsTop: ALMA image of the protoplanetary disk of V1247 Orionis, with different emission components labeled. Bottom: Synthetic image constructed from the best-fit model. [Kraus et al. 2017]Gradual accretion onto a seed particle seems like a reasonable way to grow a planet from a grain of dust; after all, planetary embryos orbit within dusty protoplanetary disks, which provides them with plenty of fuel to accrete so they can grow. Theres a challenge to this picture, though: the radial drift problem.The radial drift problem acknowledges that, as growing dust grains orbit within the disk, the drag force on them continues to grow as well. For large enough dust grains perhaps around 1 millimeter the drag force will cause the grains orbits to decay, and the particles drift into the star before they are able to grow into planetesimals and planets.A Close-Up Look with ALMASo how do we overcome the radial drift problem in order to form planets? A commonly proposed mechanism is dust trapping, in which long-lived vortices in the disk trap the dust particles, preventing them from falling inwards. This allows the particles to persist for millions of years long enough to grow beyond the radial drift barrier.Observationally, these dust-trapping vortices should have signatures: we would expect to see, at millimeter wavelengths, specific bright, asymmetric structures where the trapping occurs in protoplanetary disks. Such disk structures have been difficult to spot with past instrumentation, but the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made some new observations of the disk V1247 Orionis that might be just what were looking for.Schematic of the authors model for the disk of V1247 Orionis. [Kraus et al. 2017]Trapped in a Vortex?ALMAs observations of V1247 Orionis are reported by a team of scientists led by Stefan

  10. Human Exposure and Health Effects of Inorganic and Elemental Mercury

    OpenAIRE

    Park, Jung-Duck; Zheng, Wei

    2012-01-01

    Mercury is a toxic and non-essential metal in the human body. Mercury is ubiquitously distributed in the environment, present in natural products, and exists extensively in items encountered in daily life. There are three forms of mercury, i.e., elemental (or metallic) mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. This review examines the toxicity of elemental mercury and inorganic mercury compounds. Inorganic mercury compounds are water soluble with a bioavailability o...

  11. Methods for dispensing mercury into devices

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grossman, Mark W.; George, William A.

    1987-04-28

    A process for dispensing mercury into devices which requires mercury. Mercury is first electrolytically separated from either HgO or Hg.sub.2 Cl.sub.2 and plated onto a cathode wire. The cathode wire is then placed into a device requiring mercury.

  12. 21 CFR 872.3700 - Dental mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Dental mercury. 872.3700 Section 872.3700 Food and... DENTAL DEVICES Prosthetic Devices § 872.3700 Dental mercury. (a) Identification. Dental mercury is a device composed of mercury intended for use as a component of amalgam alloy in the restoration of a...

  13. A Low O/Si Ratio on the Surface of Mercury: Evidence for Silicon Smelting?

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCubbin, Francis M.; Vander Kaaden, Kathleen E.; Peplowski, Patrick N.; Bell, Aaron S.; Nittler, Larry R.; Boyce, Jeremy W.; Evans, Larry G.; Keller, Lindsay P.; Elardo, Stephen M.; McCoy, Timothy J.

    2017-10-01

    Data from the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS) that flew on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft indicate that the O/Si weight ratio of Mercury's surface is 1.2 ± 0.1. This value is lower than any other celestial surface that has been measured by GRS and suggests that 12-20% of the surface materials on Mercury are composed of Si-rich, Si-Fe alloys. The origin of the metal is best explained by a combination of space weathering and graphite-induced smelting. The smelting process would have been facilitated by interaction of graphite with boninitic and komatiitic parental liquids. Graphite entrained at depth would have reacted with FeO components dissolved in silicate melt, resulting in the production of up to 0.4-0.9 wt % CO from the reduction of FeO to Fe0—CO production that could have facilitated explosive volcanic processes on Mercury. Once the graphite-entrained magmas erupted, the tenuous atmosphere on Mercury prevented the buildup of CO over the lavas. The partial pressure of CO would have been sufficiently low to facilitate reaction between graphite and SiO2 components in silicate melts to produce CO and metallic Si. Although exotic, Si-rich metal as a primary smelting product is hypothesized on Mercury for three primary reasons: (1) low FeO abundances of parental magmas, (2) elevated abundances of graphite in the crust and regolith, and (3) the presence of only a tenuous atmosphere at the surface of the planet within the 3.5-4.1 Ga timespan over which the planet was resurfaced through volcanic processes.

  14. The Mercury Laser Altimeter Instrument for the MESSENGER Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cavanaugh, John F.; Smith, James C.; Sun, Xiaoli; Bartels, Arlin E.; Ramos-Izquierdo, Luis; Krebs, Danny J.; McGarry, Jan F.; Trunzo, Raymond; Novo-Gradac, Anne Marie; Britt, Jamie L.; Karsh, Jerry; Katz, Richard B.; Lukemire, Alan T.; Szymkiewicz, Richard; Berry, Daniel L.; Swinski, Joseph P.; Neumann, Gregory A.; Zuber, Maria T.; Smith, David E.

    2007-08-01

    The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is one of the payload science instruments on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, which launched on August 3, 2004. The altimeter will measure the round-trip time of flight of transmitted laser pulses reflected from the surface of the planet that, in combination with the spacecraft orbit position and pointing data, gives a high-precision measurement of surface topography referenced to Mercury’s center of mass. MLA will sample the planet’s surface to within a 1-m range error when the line-of-sight range to Mercury is less than 1,200 km under spacecraft nadir pointing or the slant range is less than 800 km. The altimeter measurements will be used to determine the planet’s forced physical librations by tracking the motion of large-scale topographic features as a function of time. MLA’s laser pulse energy monitor and the echo pulse energy estimate will provide an active measurement of the surface reflectivity at 1,064 nm. This paper describes the instrument design, prelaunch testing, calibration, and results of postlaunch testing.

  15. Pathways for Energization of Ca in Mercury's Exosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Killen, Rosemary M.

    2015-01-01

    We investigate the possible pathways to produce the extreme energy observed in the calcium exosphere of Mercury. Any mechanism must explain the facts that Ca in Mercury's exosphere is extremely hot, that it is seen almost exclusively on the dawnside of the planet, and that its content varies seasonally, not sporadically. Simple diatomic molecules or their clusters are considered, focusing on calcium oxides while acknowledging that Ca sulfides may also be the precursor molecules. We first discuss impact vaporization to justify the assumption that CaO and Ca-oxide clusters are expected from impacts on Mercury. Then we discuss processes by which the atomic Ca is energized to a 70,000 K gas. The processes considered are (1) electron-impact dissociation of CaO molecules, (2) spontaneous dissociation of Ca-bearing molecules following impact vaporization, (3) shock-induced dissociative ionization, (4) photodissociation and (5) sputtering. We conclude that electron-impact dissociation cannot produce the required abundance of Ca, and sputtering cannot reproduce the observed spatial and temporal variation that is measured. Spontaneous dissociation is unlikely to result in the high energy that is seen. Of the two remaining processes, shock induced dissociative ionization produces the required energy and comes close to producing the required abundance, but rates are highly dependent on the incoming velocity distribution of the impactors. Photodissociation probably can produce the required abundance of Ca, but simulations show that photodissociation cannot reproduce the observed spatial distribution.

  16. Planet earth a beginner's guide

    CERN Document Server

    Gribbin, John

    2012-01-01

    In this incredible expedition into the origins, workings, and evolution of our home planet, John Gribbin, bestselling author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, The Scientists, and In Search of the Multiverse, does what he does best: taking four and a half billion years of mind-boggling science and digging out the best bits. From the physics of Newton and the geology of Wegener, to the environmentalism of Lovelock, this is a must read for Earth's scientists and residents alike. Trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University, John Gribbin is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex, England.

  17. No planet for HD 166435

    OpenAIRE

    Queloz, D.; Henry, G. W.; Sivan, J. P.; Baliunas, S. L.; Beuzit, J. L.; Mayor, R. A. Donahue M.; Naef, D.; Perrier, C.; Udry, S.

    2001-01-01

    The G0V star HD166435 has been observed by the fiber-fed spectrograph ELODIE as one of the targets in the large extra-solar planet survey that we are conducting at the Observatory of Haute-Provence. We detected coherent, low-amplitude, radial-velocity variations with a period of 3.7987days, suggesting a possible close-in planetary companion. Subsequently, we initiated a series of high-precision photometric observations to search for possible planetary transits and an additional series of CaII...

  18. Infrared imaging of extrasolar planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diner, David J.; Tubbs, Eldred F.; Gaiser, Steven L.; Korechoff, Robert P.

    1991-01-01

    An optical system for direct detection, in the infrared, of planets orbiting other stars is described. The proposed system consists of a large aperture (about 16 m) space-based telescope to which is attached a specialized imaging instrument containing a set of optical signal processing elements to suppress diffracted light from the central star. Starlight suppression is accomplished using coronagraphic apodization combined with rotational shearing interferometry. The possibility of designing the large telescope aperture to be of a deployable, multiarm configuration is examined, and it is shown that there is some sacrifice in performance relative to a filled, circular aperture.

  19. New illustrated stars and planets

    CERN Document Server

    Cooper, Chris; Nicolson, Iain; Stott, Carole

    2002-01-01

    Stars & Plantes, written by experts and popular science writers, is a comprehensive overview of our Universe - what is it, where it came from and how we discovered it. This intriguing, information-rich new reference book contains over 300 stunning images from the Hubble Telescope and leading observatories from around the world as well as diagrams to explain the finer points of theory. With extensive sections on everything from the Solar System to how stars form Stars & Planets will appeal to beginners and the serious stargazer alike.

  20. Dynamics of the accumulation process of the Earth group of planets: Formation of the reverse rotation of Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koslov, N. N.; Eneyev, T. M.

    1979-01-01

    A numerical simulation of the process of formation of the terrestrial planets is carried within the framework of a new theory for the accumulation of planetary and satellite systems. The numerical simulation permitted determining the parameters of the protoplanetary disk from which Mercury, Venus and the Earth were formed as result of the evolution. The acquisition of a slow retrograde rotation for Venus was discovered during the course of the investigation, whereas Mercury and the Earth acquired direct rotation about their axes. Deviations of the semimajor axes of these three planets as well as the masses of the Earth and Venus from the true values are small as a rule (l 10%). It is shown that during the accumulation of the terrestrial planets, there existed a profound relationship between the process of formation of the orbits and masses of the planet and the process of formation of their rotation about their axes. Estimates are presented for the radii of the initial effective bodies and the time of evolution for the terrestrial accumulation zone.

  1. Fluorescent sensor for mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zidong [Urbana, IL; Lee, Jung Heon [Evanston, IL; Lu, Yi [Champaign, IL

    2011-11-22

    The present invention provides a sensor for detecting mercury, comprising: a first polynucleotide, comprising a first region, and a second region, a second polynucleotide, a third polynucleotide, a fluorophore, and a quencher, wherein the third polynucleotide is optionally linked to the second region; the fluorophore is linked to the first polynucleotide and the quencher is linked to the second polynucleotide, or the fluorophore is linked to the second polynucleotide and the quencher is linked to the first polynucleotide; the first region and the second region hybridize to the second polynucleotide; and the second region binds to the third polynucleotide in the presence of Hg.sup.2+ ions.

  2. Exotic Earths: forming habitable worlds with giant planet migration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raymond, Sean N; Mandell, Avi M; Sigurdsson, Steinn

    2006-09-08

    Close-in giant planets (e.g., "hot Jupiters") are thought to form far from their host stars and migrate inward, through the terrestrial planet zone, via torques with a massive gaseous disk. Here we simulate terrestrial planet growth during and after giant planet migration. Several-Earth-mass planets also form interior to the migrating jovian planet, analogous to recently discovered "hot Earths." Very-water-rich, Earth-mass planets form from surviving material outside the giant planet's orbit, often in the habitable zone and with low orbital eccentricities. More than a third of the known systems of giant planets may harbor Earth-like planets.

  3. The Moon is a Planet Too: Lunar Science and Robotic Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cohen, Barbara A.

    2009-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews some of what is known about the moon, and draws parallels between the moon and any other terrestrial planet. The Moon is a cornerstone for all rocky planets The Moon is a terrestrial body, formed and evolved similarly to Earth, Mars, Mercury, Venus, and large asteroids The Moon is a differentiated body, with a layered internal structure (crust, mantle, and core) The Moon is a cratered body, preserving a record of bombardment history in the inner solar system The Moon is an active body, experiencing moonquakes, releasing primordial heat, conducting electricity, sustaining bombardment, and trapping volatile molecules Lunar robotic missions provide early science return to obtain important science and engineering objectives, rebuild a lunar science community, and keep our eyes on the Moon. These lunar missions, both past and future are reviewed.

  4. Giant Planets: Good Neighbors for Habitable Worlds?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgakarakos, Nikolaos; Eggl, Siegfried; Dobbs-Dixon, Ian

    2018-04-01

    The presence of giant planets influences potentially habitable worlds in numerous ways. Massive celestial neighbors can facilitate the formation of planetary cores and modify the influx of asteroids and comets toward Earth analogs later on. Furthermore, giant planets can indirectly change the climate of terrestrial worlds by gravitationally altering their orbits. Investigating 147 well-characterized exoplanetary systems known to date that host a main-sequence star and a giant planet, we show that the presence of “giant neighbors” can reduce a terrestrial planet’s chances to remain habitable, even if both planets have stable orbits. In a small fraction of systems, however, giant planets slightly increase the extent of habitable zones provided that the terrestrial world has a high climate inertia. In providing constraints on where giant planets cease to affect the habitable zone size in a detrimental fashion, we identify prime targets in the search for habitable worlds.

  5. Extrasolar planets searches today and tomorrow

    CERN Multimedia

    2000-01-01

    So far the searches for extrasolar planets have found 40 planetary companions orbiting around nearby stars. In December 1999 a transit has been observed for one of them, providing the first independent confirmation of the reality of close-in planets as well as a measurement of its density. The techniques used to detect planets are limited and the detection threshold is biased but a first picture of the planet diversity and distribution emerges. Results of the search for extra-solar planets and their impacts on planetary formation will be reviewed. Future instruments are foreseen to detect Earth-like planets and possible signatures of organic activity. An overview of these future projects will be presented and more particularly the Darwin-IRSI mission studied by ESA for Horizon 2015.

  6. Volatile components and continental material of planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Florenskiy, K.P.; Nikolayeva, O.V.

    1984-01-01

    It is shown that the continental material of the terrestrial planets varies in composition from planet to planet according to the abundances and composition of true volatiles (H 2 0, CO 2 , etc.) in the outer shells of the planets. The formation of these shells occurs very early in a planet's evolution when the role of endogenous processes is indistinct and continental materials are subject to melting and vaporizing in the absence of an atmosphere. As a result, the chemical properties of continental materials are related not only to fractionation processes but also to meltability and volatility. For planets retaining a certain quantity of true volatile components, the chemical transformation of continental material is characterized by a close interaction between impact melting vaporization and endogeneous geological processes

  7. All for the Planet, the Planet for everyone!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drndarski, Marina

    2014-05-01

    The Eco-Musketeers are unique voluntary group of students. They have been established in Belgrade, in Primary school 'Drinka Pavlović'. Since the founding in year 2000, Eco-Musketeers have been involved in peer and citizens education guided by motto: All for the planet, the planet for all! Main goals of this group are spreading and popularization of environmental approach as well as gaining knowledge through collaborative projects and research. A great number of students from other schools in Serbia have joined Eco-Musketeers in observations aiming to better understand the problem of global climate change. In the past several years Eco-Musketeers have also participated in many national and international projects related to the active citizenship and rising the awareness of the importance of biodiversity and environment for sustainable development of society. In this presentation we will show some of the main activities, eco-performances and actions of our organization related to the environment, biodiversity, conservation and recycling, such as: spring cleaning the streets of Belgrade, cleaning the Sava and the Danube river banks, removing insect moth pupae in the area of Lipovica forest near Belgrade. Also, Eco-Musketeers worked on education of employees of Coca-Cola HBC Serbia about energy efficiency. All the time, we have working on raising public awareness of the harmful effects of plastic bags on the environment, too. In order to draw attention on rare and endangered species in Serbia and around the globe, there were several performing street-plays about biodiversity and also the plays about the water ecological footprint. Eco-Musketeers also participated in international projects Greenwave-signs of spring (Fibonacci project), European Schools For A Living Planet (WWF Austria and Erste stiftung) and Eco Schools. The eco dream of Eco-Musketeers is to influence the Government of the Republic of Serbia to determine and declare a 'green habits week'. This should

  8. Increased mercury emissions from modern dental amalgams

    OpenAIRE

    Bengtsson, Ulf G.; Hylander, Lars D.

    2017-01-01

    All types of dental amalgams contain mercury, which partly is emitted as mercury vapor. All types of dental amalgams corrode after being placed in the oral cavity. Modern high copper amalgams exhibit two new traits of increased instability. Firstly, when subjected to wear/polishing, droplets rich in mercury are formed on the surface, showing that mercury is not being strongly bonded to the base or alloy metals. Secondly, high copper amalgams emit substantially larger amounts of mercury vapor ...

  9. Space based microlensing planet searches

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tisserand Patrick

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available The discovery of extra-solar planets is arguably the most exciting development in astrophysics during the past 15 years, rivalled only by the detection of dark energy. Two projects unite the communities of exoplanet scientists and cosmologists: the proposed ESA M class mission EUCLID and the large space mission WFIRST, top ranked by the Astronomy 2010 Decadal Survey report. The later states that: “Space-based microlensing is the optimal approach to providing a true statistical census of planetary systems in the Galaxy, over a range of likely semi-major axes”. They also add: “This census, combined with that made by the Kepler mission, will determine how common Earth-like planets are over a wide range of orbital parameters”. We will present a status report of the results obtained by microlensing on exoplanets and the new objectives of the next generation of ground based wide field imager networks. We will finally discuss the fantastic prospect offered by space based microlensing at the horizon 2020–2025.

  10. Partitioning of U, Th and K Between Metal, Sulfide and Silicate, Insights into the Volatile-Content of Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Habermann, M.; Boujibar, A.; Righter, K.; Danielson, L.; Rapp, J.; Righter, M.; Pando, K.; Ross, D. K.; Andreasen, R.; Chidester, B.

    2016-01-01

    During the early stages of the Solar System formation, especially during the T-Tauri phase, the Sun emitted strong solar winds, which are thought to have expelled a portion of the volatile elements from the inner solar system. It is therefore usually believed that the volatile depletion of a planet is correlated with its proximity to the Sun. This trend was supported by the K/Th and K/U ratios of Venus, the Earth, and Mars. Prior to the MESSENGER mission, it was expected that Mercury is the most volatile-depleted planet. However, the Gamma Ray Spectrometer of MESSENGER spacecraft revealed elevated K/U and K/Th ratios for the surface of Mercury, much higher than previous expectations. It is possible that the K/Th and K/U ratios on the surface are not a reliable gauge of the bulk volatile content of Mercury. Mercury is enriched in sulfur and is the most reduced of the terrestrial planets, with oxygen fugacity (fO2) between IW-6.3 and IW-2.6 log units. At these particular compositions, U, Th and K behave differently and can become more siderophile or chalcophile. If significant amounts of U and Th are sequestered in the core, the apparent K/U and K/Th ratios measured on the surface may not represent the volatile budget of the whole planet. An accurate determination of the partitioning of these elements between silicate, metal, and sulfide phases under Mercurian conditions is therefore essential to better constrain Mercury's volatile content and assess planetary formation models.

  11. Pathway to the galactic distribution of planets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Novati, S. Calchi; Gould, A.; Udalski, A.

    2015-01-01

    distance estimates for each lens, with error bars that are small compared to the Sun's Galactocentric distance. The ensemble therefore yields a well-defined cumulative distribution of lens distances. In principle it is possible to compare this distribution against a set of planets detected in the same...... experiment in order to measure the Galactic distribution of planets. Since these Spitzer observations yielded only one planet, this is not yet possible in practice. However, it will become possible as larger samples are accumulated....

  12. Mercury toxicity and neurodegenerative effects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carocci, Alessia; Rovito, Nicola; Sinicropi, Maria Stefania; Genchi, Giuseppe

    2014-01-01

    Mercury is among the most toxic heavy metals and has no known physiological role in humans. Three forms of mercury exist: elemental, inorganic and organic. Mercury has been used by man since ancient times. Among the earliest were the Chinese and Romans, who employed cinnabar (mercury sulfide) as a red dye in ink (Clarkson et al. 2007). Mercury has also been used to purify gold and silver minerals by forming amalgams. This is a hazardous practice, but is still widespread in Brazil's Amazon basin, in Laos and in Venezuela, where tens of thousands of miners are engaged in local mining activities to find and purify gold or silver. Mercury compounds were long used to treat syphilis and the element is still used as an antiseptic,as a medicinal preservative and as a fungicide. Dental amalgams, which contain about 50% mercury, have been used to repair dental caries in the U.S. since 1856.Mercury still exists in many common household products around the world.Examples are: thermometers, barometers, batteries, and light bulbs (Swain et al.2007). In small amounts, some organo mercury-compounds (e.g., ethylmercury tiosalicylate(thimerosal) and phenylmercury nitrate) are used as preservatives in some medicines and vaccines (Ballet al. 2001).Each mercury form has its own toxicity profile. Exposure to Hg0 vapor and MeHg produce symptoms in CNS, whereas, the kidney is the target organ when exposures to the mono- and di-valent salts of mercury (Hg+ and Hg++, respectively)occur. Chronic exposure to inorganic mercury produces stomatitis, erethism and tremors. Chronic MeHg exposure induced symptoms similar to those observed in ALS, such as the early onset of hind limb weakness (Johnson and Atchison 2009).Among the organic mercury compounds, MeHg is the most biologically available and toxic (Scheuhammer et a!. 2007). MeHg is neurotoxic, reaching high levels of accumulation in the CNS; it can impair physiological function by disrupting endocrine glands (Tan et a!. 2009).The most

  13. Mercury kinetics in marine zooplankton

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fowler, S.W.; Heyraud, M.; LaRosa, J.

    1976-01-01

    Mercury, like many other heavy metals, is potentially available to marine animals by uptake directly from water and/or through the organisms food. Furthermore, bioavailability, assimilation and subsequent retention in biota may be affected by the chemical species of the element in sea water. While mercury is known to exist in the inorganic form in sea water, recent work has indicated that, in certain coastal areas, a good portion of the total mercury appears to be organically bound; however, the exact chemical nature of the organic fraction has yet to be determined. Methyl mercury may be one constituent of the natural organically bound fraction since microbial mechanisms for in situ methylation of mercury have been demonstrated in the aquatic environment. Despite the fact that naturally produced methyl mercury probably comprises only a small fraction of an aquatic ecosystem, the well-documented toxic effects of this organo-mercurial, caused by man-made introductions into marine food chains, make it an important compound to study

  14. Atmospheric mercury footprints of nations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liang, Sai; Wang, Yafei; Cinnirella, Sergio; Pirrone, Nicola

    2015-03-17

    The Minamata Convention was established to protect humans and the natural environment from the adverse effects of mercury emissions. A cogent assessment of mercury emissions is required to help implement the Minamata Convention. Here, we use an environmentally extended multi-regional input-output model to calculate atmospheric mercury footprints of nations based on upstream production (meaning direct emissions from the production activities of a nation), downstream production (meaning both direct and indirect emissions caused by the production activities of a nation), and consumption (meaning both direct and indirect emissions caused by final consumption of goods and services in a nation). Results show that nations function differently within global supply chains. Developed nations usually have larger consumption-based emissions than up- and downstream production-based emissions. India, South Korea, and Taiwan have larger downstream production-based emissions than their upstream production- and consumption-based emissions. Developed nations (e.g., United States, Japan, and Germany) are in part responsible for mercury emissions of developing nations (e.g., China, India, and Indonesia). Our findings indicate that global mercury abatement should focus on multiple stages of global supply chains. We propose three initiatives for global mercury abatement, comprising the establishment of mercury control technologies of upstream producers, productivity improvement of downstream producers, and behavior optimization of final consumers.

  15. Extrasolar planets formation, detection and dynamics

    CERN Document Server

    Dvorak, Rudolf

    2008-01-01

    This latest, up-to-date resource for research on extrasolar planets covers formation, dynamics, atmospheres and detection. After a look at the formation of giant planets, the book goes on to discuss the formation and dynamics of planets in resonances, planets in double stars, atmospheres and habitable zones, detection via spectra and transits, and the history and prospects of ESPs as well as satellite projects.Edited by a renowned expert in solar system dynamics with chapters written by the leading experts in the method described -- from the US and Europe -- this is an ideal textbook for g

  16. Evolutionary tracks of the terrestrial planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Matsui, Takafumi; Abe, Yutaka

    1987-01-01

    On the basis of the model proposed by Matsui and Abe, the authors show that two major factors - distance from the Sun and the efficiency of retention of accretional energy - control the early evolution of the terrestrial planets. A diagram of accretional energy versus the optical depth of a proto-atmosphere provides a means to follow the evolutionary track of surface temperature of the terrestrial planets and an explanation for why the third planet in our solar system is an 'aqua'-planet. 15 refs; 3 figs

  17. Numerical simulations for terrestrial planets formation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ji J.

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available We investigate the formation of terrestrial planets in the late stage of planetary formation using two-planet model. At that time, the protostar has formed for about 3 Myr and the gas disk has dissipated. In the model, the perturbations from Jupiter and Saturn are considered. We also consider variations of the mass of outer planet, and the initial eccentricities and inclinations of embryos and planetesimals. Our results show that, terrestrial planets are formed in 50 Myr, and the accretion rate is about 60%–80%. In each simulation, 3–4 terrestrial planets are formed inside “Jupiter” with masses of 0.15–3.6 M⊕. In the 0.5–4 AU, when the eccentricities of planetesimals are excited, planetesimals are able to accrete material from wide radial direction. The plenty of water material of the terrestrial planet in the Habitable Zone may be transferred from the farther places by this mechanism. Accretion may also happen a few times between two giant planets only if the outer planet has a moderate mass and the small terrestrial planet could survive at some resonances over time scale of 108 yr.

  18. The Fate of Unstable Circumbinary Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-03-01

    What happens to Tattooine-like planets that are instead in unstable orbits around their binary star system? A new study examines whether such planets will crash into a host star, get ejected from the system, or become captured into orbit around one of their hosts.Orbit Around a DuoAt this point we have unambiguously detected multiple circumbinary planets, raising questions about these planets formation and evolution. Current models suggest that it is unlikely that circumbinary planets would be able to form in the perturbed environment close their host stars. Instead, its thought that the planets formed at a distance and then migrated inwards.One danger such planets face when migrating is encountering ranges of radii where their orbits become unstable. Two scientists at the University of Chicago, Adam Sutherland and Daniel Fabrycky, have studied what happens when circumbinary planets migrate into such a region and develop unstable orbits.Producing Rogue PlanetsTime for planets to either be ejected or collide with one of the two stars, as a function of the planets starting distance (in AU) from the binary barycenter. Colors represent different planetary eccentricities. [Sutherland Fabrycky 2016]Sutherland and Fabrycky used N-body simulations to determine the fates of planets orbiting around a star system consisting of two stars a primary like our Sun and a secondary roughly a tenth of its size that are separated by 1 AU.The authors find that the most common fate for a circumbinary planet with an unstable orbit is ejection from the system; over 80% of unstable planets were ejected. This has interesting implications: if the formation of circumbinary planets is common, this mechanism could be filling the Milky Way with a population of free-floating, rogue planets that no longer are associated with their host star.The next most common outcome for unstable planets is collision with one of their host stars (most often the secondary), resulting inaccretion of the planet

  19. Direct Imaging of Warm Extrasolar Planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Macintosh, B

    2005-01-01

    One of the most exciting scientific discoveries in the last decade of the twentieth century was the first detection of planets orbiting a star other than our own. By now more than 130 extrasolar planets have been discovered indirectly, by observing the gravitational effects of the planet on the radial velocity of its parent star. This technique has fundamental limitations: it is most sensitive to planets close to their star, and it determines only a planet's orbital period and a lower limit on the planet's mass. As a result, all the planetary systems found so far are very different from our own--they have giant Jupiter-sized planets orbiting close to their star, where the terrestrial planets are found in our solar system. Such systems have overturned the conventional paradigm of planet formation, but have no room in them for habitable Earth-like planets. A powerful complement to radial velocity detections of extrasolar planets will be direct imaging--seeing photons from the planet itself. Such a detection would allow photometric measurements to determine the temperature and radius of a planet. Also, direct detection is most sensitive to planets in wide orbits, and hence more capable of seeing solar systems resembling our own, since a giant planet in a wide orbit does not preclude the presence of an Earth-like planet closer to the star. Direct detection, however, is extremely challenging. Jupiter is roughly a billion times fainter than our sun. Two techniques allowed us to overcome this formidable contrast and attempt to see giant planets directly. The first is adaptive optics (AO) which allows giant earth-based telescopes, such as the 10 meter W.M. Keck telescope, to partially overcome the blurring effects of atmospheric turbulence. The second is looking for young planets: by searching in the infrared for companions to young stars, we can see thermal emission from planets that are still warm with the heat of their formation. Together with a UCLA team that leads the

  20. Method for removal and stabilization of mercury in mercury-containing gas streams

    Science.gov (United States)

    Broderick, Thomas E.

    2005-09-13

    The present invention is directed to a process and apparatus for removing and stabilizing mercury from mercury-containing gas streams. A gas stream containing vapor phase elemental and/or speciated mercury is contacted with reagent, such as an oxygen-containing oxidant, in a liquid environment to form a mercury-containing precipitate. The mercury-containing precipitate is kept or placed in solution and reacts with one or more additional reagents to form a solid, stable mercury-containing compound.

  1. Metal-Silicate-Sulfide Partitioning of U, Th, and K: Implications for the Budget of Volatile Elements in Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Habermann, M.; Boujibar, A.; Righter, K.; Danielson, L.; Rapp, J.; Righter, M.; Pando, K.; Ross, D. K.; Andreasen, R.

    2016-01-01

    During formation of the solar system, the Sun produced strong solar winds, which stripped away a portion of the volatile elements from the forming planets. Hence, it was expected that planets closest to the sun, such as Mercury, are more depleted in volatile elements in comparison to other terrestrial planets. However, the MESSENGER mission detected higher than expected K/U and K/Th ratios on Mercury's surface, indicating a volatile content between that of Mars and Earth. Our experiments aim to resolve this discrepancy by experimentally determining the partition coefficients (D(sup met/sil)) of K, U, and Th between metal and silicate at varying pressure (1 to 5 GPa), temperature (1500 to 1900 C), oxygen fugacity (IW-2.5 to IW-6.5) and sulfur-content in the metal (0 to 33 wt%). Our data show that U, Th, and K become more siderophile with decreasing fO2 and increasing sulfur-content, with a stronger effect for U and Th in comparison to K. Using these results, the concentrations of U, Th, and K in the bulk planet were calculated for different scenarios, where the planet equilibrated at a fO2 between IW-4 and IW-7, assuming the existence of a FeS layer, between the core and mantle, with variable thickness. These models show that significant amounts of U and Th are partitioned into Mercury's core. The elevated superficial K/U and K/Th values are therefore only a consequence of the sequestration of U and Th into the core, not evidence of the overall volatile content of Mercury.

  2. Constraints on planet formation from Kepler’s multiple planet systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quintana, Elisa V.

    2015-01-01

    The recent haul of hundreds of multiple planet systems discovered by Kepler provides a treasure trove of new clues for planet formation theories. The substantial amount of protoplanetary disk mass needed to form the most commonly observed multi-planet systems - small (Earth-sized to mini-Neptune-sized) planets close to their stars - argues against pure in situ formation and suggests that the planets in these systems must have undergone some form of migration. I will present results from numerical simulations of terrestrial planet formation that aim to reproduce the sizes and architecture of Kepler's multi-planet systems, and will discuss the observed resonances and giant planets (or the lack thereof) associated with these systems.

  3. Distribution and retention of organic and inorganic mercury in methyl mercury-treated neonatal rats

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thomas, D.J.; Fisher, H.L.; Sumler, M.R.; Hall, L.L.; Mushak, P.

    1988-01-01

    Seven-day-old Long Evans rats received one mumol of 203 Hg-labeled methyl mercury/kg sc and whole body retention and tissue distribution of organic and inorganic mercury were examined for 32 days postdosing. Neonates cleared mercury slowly until 10 days postdosing when the clearance rate abruptly increased. During the interval when whole body clearance of mercury was extremely slow, methyl mercury was metabolized to inorganic mercury. Peak concentration of mercury in kidney occurred at 2 days postdosing. At 32 days postdosing, 8% of mercury in kidney was in an organic from. Liver mercury concentration peaked at 2 days postdosing and organic mercury accounted for 38% at 32 days postdosing. Brain concentrations of mercury peaked at 2 days postdosing. At 10 days postdosing, organic mercury accounted for 86% of the brain mercury burden, and, at 32 days postdosing, for 60%. The percentage of mercury body burden in pelt rose from 30 to 70% between 1 and 10 days postdosing. At 32 days postdosing pelt contained 85% of the body burden of mercury. At all time points, about 95% of mercury in pelt was in an organic form. Compartmental analysis of these data permitted development of a model to describe the distribution and excretion of organic and inorganic mercury in methyl mercury-treated neonatal rats

  4. Eccentricity evolution during planet-disc interaction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ragusa, Enrico; Rosotti, Giovanni; Teyssandier, Jean; Booth, Richard; Clarke, Cathie J.; Lodato, Giuseppe

    2018-03-01

    During the process of planet formation, the planet-disc interactions might excite (or damp) the orbital eccentricity of the planet. In this paper, we present two long (t ˜ 3 × 105 orbits) numerical simulations: (a) one (with a relatively light disc, Md/Mp = 0.2), where the eccentricity initially stalls before growing at later times and (b) one (with a more massive disc, Md/Mp = 0.65) with fast growth and a late decrease of the eccentricity. We recover the well-known result that a more massive disc promotes a faster initial growth of the planet eccentricity. However, at late times the planet eccentricity decreases in the massive disc case, but increases in the light disc case. Both simulations show periodic eccentricity oscillations superimposed on a growing/decreasing trend and a rapid transition between fast and slow pericentre precession. The peculiar and contrasting evolution of the eccentricity of both planet and disc in the two simulations can be understood by invoking a simple toy model where the disc is treated as a second point-like gravitating body, subject to secular planet-planet interaction and eccentricity pumping/damping provided by the disc. We show how the counterintuitive result that the more massive simulation produces a lower planet eccentricity at late times can be understood in terms of the different ratios of the disc-to-planet angular momentum in the two simulations. In our interpretation, at late times the planet eccentricity can increase more in low-mass discs rather than in high-mass discs, contrary to previous claims in the literature.

  5. Older Smooth Plains on Mercury Obscured by Impact Features

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byrne, P. K.; Denevi, B. W.; Klimczak, C.; Prockter, L. M.; Solomon, S. C.; Whitten, J.; Head, J. W.

    2012-12-01

    On the basis of morphology and spectral reflectance, the surface of Mercury can be broadly divided into three major terrain types: low-reflectance material, intermediate terrain, and smooth plains. This last terrain type is distinguished morphologically by a comparatively smooth and gently rolling surface, has a lower density of impact craters and basins than other surface units on the planet, and typically occupies low-lying areas. Their smooth texture, embayment of other landforms, and distinctive partial to complete burial of older impact features suggests that most of these plains are probably volcanic in nature. Recent mapping work has shown that smooth plains younger than the end of the late heavy bombardment (LHB) occupy ~30% of Mercury's surface. An outstanding question concerns the distribution and nature of older plains units on the planet, especially those that underlie large impact features and may correspond morphologically to smooth plains but have not yet been mapped accordingly. A preliminary survey of such terrain yielded five exemplar sites: at the Amaral (26.5°S, 117.8°E; 101 km diameter), Mickiewicz (23.2°N, 256.7°E; 103 km), and Vivaldi (13.8°N, 274.1°E; 212 km) basins and at two unnamed features at 53.1°S, 38.6°E (83 km in diameter) and 7.1°N, 38.3°E (118 km). We expect that more thorough mapping will uncover additional candidate areas. In each of the example sites, an extensive continuous ejecta deposit and secondary impact field characterize the proximal and distal facies, respectively, of the impact feature; and in each case, the secondaries field (and impact-sculpted terrain in the case of Vivaldi) is superposed upon patches of plains that otherwise appear smooth and host numerous, flooded antecedent craters tens of kilometers in diameter. Moreover, these smooth patches occur at several ranges of azimuths surrounding each crater or basin, suggesting that they may have formed contiguous units prior to formation of the younger

  6. The Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer (MERTIS) for the BepiColombo mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hiesinger, H.; Helbert, J.; Mertis Co-I Team

    2010-01-01

    Scheduled for launch on board the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) in 2014, the Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer (MERTIS) is an innovative instrument for studying the surface composition and mineralogy of planet Mercury. MERTIS combines an uncooled grating push broom IR-spectrometer (TIS) with a radiometer (TIR), which will operate in the wavelength region of 7-14 and 7-40 μm, respectively. The spatial resolution of the MERTIS observations will be about 500 m globally and better than 500 m for approximately 5-10% of the surface. The thermal infrared range offers unique diagnostic capabilities to study the surface composition of Mercury. In particular, feldspars can easily be detected and characterized, because they show several diagnostic spectral signatures in the 7-14 μm range: the Christiansen feature, reststrahlen bands, and the transparency feature. In addition, MERTIS will allow the identification and mapping of elemental sulfur, pyroxenes, olivines, and other complex minerals. The scientific objectives of MERTIS include: (1) characterization of Mercury's surface composition, (2) identification of rock-forming minerals, (3) mapping of the surface mineralogy, and (4) study of surface temperature variations and the thermal inertia. In preparation for the MERTIS data interpretation, we are performing spectral measurements of appropriate analogue materials in the Planetary Emissivity Laboratory (PEL) and are building a spectral library (Berlin Emissivity Database (BED)) of these materials for a variety of grain sizes.

  7. Chemistry of the outer planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scattergood, Thomas W.

    1992-05-01

    Various aspects were studied of past or present chemistry in the atmospheres of the outer planets and their satellites using lab simulations. Three areas were studied: (1) organic chemistry induced by kinetically hot hydrogen atoms in the region of Jupiter's atmosphere containing the ammonia cirrus clouds; (2) the conversion of NH3 into N2 by plasmas associated with entry of meteors and other objects into the atmosphere of early Titan; and (3) the synthesis of simple hydrocarbons and HCN by lightning in mixtures containing N2, CH4, and NH3 representing the atmospheres of Titan and the outer planets. The results showed that: (1) hot H2 atoms formed from the photodissociation of NH3 in Jupiter's atmosphere could account for some of the atmospheric chemistry in the ammonia cirrus cloud region; (2) the thermalization of hot H2 atoms in atmospheres predominated by molecular H is not as rapid as predicted by elastic collision theory; (3) the net quantum loss of NH3 in the presence of a 200 fold excess of H2 is 0.02, much higher than was expected from the amount of H2 present; (4) the conversion of NH3 into N2 in plasmas associated with infalling meteors is very efficient and rapid, and could account for most of the N2 present on Titan; (5) the yields of C2H2 and HCN from lightning induced chemistry in mixtures of CH4 and N2 is consistent with quenched thermodynamic models of the discharge core; and (6) photolysis induced by the UV light emitted by the gases in the hot plasmas may account for some, if not most, of the excess production of C2H6 and the more complex hydrocarbons.

  8. Mercury's spin-orbit model and signature of C/MR2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rambaux, N.; Bois, E.

    2003-04-01

    The upcoming missions, MESSENGER (Solomon etal 2001, Planet. Space Sci 49) and Bepi Colombo (Milani etal 2001, Planet. Space Sci 49) with onboard instrumentation capable of measuring the rotational parameters stimulate the objective to reach an accurate theory of the rotational motion of Mercury. Our work deals with the physical and dynamical causes that induce librations around an equilibrium state defined by the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance of Mercury. In order to integrate the spin-orbit motion of Mercury, we have used our gravitational model of the solar System including the Moon's spin-orbit motion. This model, called SONYR (acronym of Spin-Orbit N-bodY Relativistic model), was previously built by Bois, Journet and Vokrouhlicky in accordance with the requirements of the Lunar Laser Ranging observational accuracy (see for instance a review by Bois 2000, C. R. Acad. Sci. Série IV, or Bois and Vokrouhlický 1995). Using the model, the present study is devoted to the main perturbations acting on the spin-orbit motion of Mercury such as the planetary interactions (and their hierarchy) and the dynamical figure of the planet. The effect of the torque of Venus is 105 times smaller in magnitude than the one due to the Sun. Moreover, the complete rotation of Mercury exhibits two proper frequencies, namely 15.825 and 1089 years, and one secular variation of 271043 years which is due to the nodal precession between the equatorial plane of Mercury and its orbital plane. It is the second synchronism of Mercury mentioned by Beletski in 1986. We have made into evidence that the 3:2 resonance of Mercury is preserved by this second synchronism, which can be understood as a spin-orbit secular resonance. We have shown that the secular resonance variable ψ - Ω librates with a frequency of 1089 years. Our model integration starts with an initial obliquity of 1.65 arcminute (re-evaluate from the Cassini state) and gives an amplitude of libration in longitude of the order of 20

  9. Elimination of mercury in health care facilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-03-01

    Mercury is a persistent, bioaccumulative toxin that has been linked to numerous health effects in humans and wildlife. It is a potent neurotoxin that may also harm the brain, kidneys, and lungs. Unborn children and young infants are at particular risk for brain damage from mercury exposure. Hospitals' use of mercury in chemical solutions, thermometers, blood pressure gauges, batteries, and fluorescent lamps makes these facilities large contributors to the overall emission of mercury into the environment. Most hospitals recognize the dangers of mercury. In a recent survey, four out of five hospitals stated that they have policies in place to eliminate the use of mercury-containing products. Sixty-two percent of them require vendors to disclose the presence of mercury in chemicals that the hospitals purchase. Only 12 percent distribute mercury-containing thermometers to new parents. Ninety-two percent teach their employees about the health and environmental effects of mercury, and 46 percent teach all employees how to clean up mercury spills. However, the same study showed that many hospitals have not implemented their policies. Forty-two percent were not aware whether they still purchased items containing mercury. In addition, 49 percent still purchase mercury thermometers, 44 percent purchase mercury gastrointestinal diagnostic equipment, and 64 percent still purchase mercury lab thermometers.

  10. Mercury pollution: a transdisciplinary treatment

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Zuber, Sharon L; Newman, Michael C

    2012-01-01

    .... Also included are smaller case studies, such as the Minamata tragedy, fish consumption, and international treaties"-- "Mercury is the gravest chemical pollutant problem of our time, and this is...

  11. Results from microlensing searches for extrasolar planets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sackett, PD; Penny, A; Artymowicz, P; Lagrance, AM; Russell, S

    2004-01-01

    Specially-designed microlensing searches, some of which have been underway for several years, are sensitive to extrasolar planets orbiting the most common stars in our Galaxy. Microlensing is particularly well-suited to the detection of Jupiter-mass planets orbiting their parent stars at several AU.

  12. Characterization of Extrasolar Planets Using SOFIA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deming, Drake

    2010-01-01

    Topics include: the landscape of extrasolar planets, why focus on transiting planets, some history and Spitzer results, problems in atmospheric structure or hot Jupiters and hot super Earths, what observations are needed to make progress, and what SOFIA can currently do and comments on optimized instruments.

  13. Confirmation of Kepler Planet Candidates around Giants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sato, Bun-ei

    2014-01-01

    Detecting planetary transits is extremely valuable not only because it makes an independent confirmation of a planet from Doppler method but also because the photometric transits yield unambiguous information on planet masses and radii, and thus mean density and interior structure, and obliquity of planetary orbits. Planets around giants and subgiants have been intensively surveyed over the decade by precise radial velocity (RV) measurements, mainly from the viewpoint of planet searches around intermediate-mass (1.5-5M⊙) stars. The planets show remarkable properties in their masses and orbital parameters. Unfortunately, however, it is quite difficult to detect transiting ones around such evolved stars because of the large sizes of the host stars. Therefore, our understanding of properties of planets around intermediate-mass stars are still far behind from those around solar-like stars. In S13B, we made the first RV follow-up observations with HDS for the transiting planet candidates around giants found by Kepler space telescope, and identified promising candidates of true transiting planets. Here we propose to take additional RV data for them with HDS in order to make sure that the RV periodicity is the same as the transit one.

  14. Planet map generation by tetrahedral subdivision

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mogensen, Torben Ægidius

    2010-01-01

    We present a method for generating pseudo-random, zoomable planet maps for games and art.  The method is based on spatial subdivision using tetrahedrons.  This ensures planet maps without discontinuities caused by mapping a flat map onto a sphere. We compare the method to other map...

  15. Detecting planets around stars in nearby galaxies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Covone, G; de Ritis, R; Dominik, M; Marino, AA

    The only way to detect planets around stars at distances greater than or similar to several kpc is by (photometric or astrometric) microlensing (mu L) observations. In this paper, we show that the capability of photometric mu L extends to the detection of signals caused by planets around stars in

  16. The Planets Approach to Migration Tools

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zierau, Eld; van Wijk, Caroline

    2008-01-01

    This paper discusses the Planets approach to migration tool development. The approach consists of enhancing existing migration tools rather than developing tools from scratch. This pragmatic approach is based on the Planets view of the current situation for migration tools and two claims. The first...

  17. Rocky Planet Formation: Quick and Neat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenyon, Scott J.; Najita, Joan R.; Bromley, Benjamin C.

    2016-11-01

    We reconsider the commonly held assumption that warm debris disks are tracers of terrestrial planet formation. The high occurrence rate inferred for Earth-mass planets around mature solar-type stars based on exoplanet surveys (˜20%) stands in stark contrast to the low incidence rate (≤2%-3%) of warm dusty debris around solar-type stars during the expected epoch of terrestrial planet assembly (˜10 Myr). If Earth-mass planets at au distances are a common outcome of the planet formation process, this discrepancy suggests that rocky planet formation occurs more quickly and/or is much neater than traditionally believed, leaving behind little in the way of a dust signature. Alternatively, the incidence rate of terrestrial planets has been overestimated, or some previously unrecognized physical mechanism removes warm dust efficiently from the terrestrial planet region. A promising removal mechanism is gas drag in a residual gaseous disk with a surface density ≳10-5 of the minimum-mass solar nebula.

  18. Do Inner Planets Modulate the Space Environment of the Earth?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jung-Hee Kim

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Variabilities in the solar wind cause disturbances throughout the heliosphere on all temporal and spatial scales, which leads to changeable space weather. As a view of space weather forecasting, in particular, it is important to know direct and indirect causes modulating the space environment near the Earth in advance. Recently, there are discussions on a role of the interaction of the solar wind with Mercury in affecting the solar wind velocity in the Earth’s neighborhood during its inferior conjunctions. In this study we investigate a question of whether other parameters describing the space environment near the Earth are modulated by the inner planets’ wake, by examining whether the interplanetary magnetic field and the proton density in the solar wind observed by the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE spacecraft, and the geomagnetic field via the Dst index and Auroral Electrojet index (AE index are dependent upon the relative position of the inner planets. We find there are indeed apparent variations. For example, the mean variations of the geomagnetic fields measured in the Earth’s neighborhood apparently have varied with a timescale of about 10 to 25 days. Those variations in the parameters we have studied, however, turn out to be a part of random fluctuations and have nothing to do with the relative position of inner planets. Moreover, it is found that variations of the proton density in the solar wind, the Dst index, and the AE index are distributed with the Gaussian distribution. Finally, we point out that some of properties in the behavior of the random fluctuation are to be studied.

  19. Localized surface plasmon resonance mercury detection system and methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    James, Jay; Lucas, Donald; Crosby, Jeffrey Scott; Koshland, Catherine P.

    2016-03-22

    A mercury detection system that includes a flow cell having a mercury sensor, a light source and a light detector is provided. The mercury sensor includes a transparent substrate and a submonolayer of mercury absorbing nanoparticles, e.g., gold nanoparticles, on a surface of the substrate. Methods of determining whether mercury is present in a sample using the mercury sensors are also provided. The subject mercury detection systems and methods find use in a variety of different applications, including mercury detecting applications.

  20. Mercury Toolset for Spatiotemporal Metadata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devarakonda, Ranjeet; Palanisamy, Giri; Green, James; Wilson, Bruce; Rhyne, B. Timothy; Lindsley, Chris

    2010-06-01

    Mercury (http://mercury.ornl.gov) is a set of tools for federated harvesting, searching, and retrieving metadata, particularly spatiotemporal metadata. Version 3.0 of the Mercury toolset provides orders of magnitude improvements in search speed, support for additional metadata formats, integration with Google Maps for spatial queries, facetted type search, support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) delivery of search results, and enhanced customization to meet the needs of the multiple projects that use Mercury. It provides a single portal to very quickly search for data and information contained in disparate data management systems, each of which may use different metadata formats. Mercury harvests metadata and key data from contributing project servers distributed around the world and builds a centralized index. The search interfaces then allow the users to perform a variety of fielded, spatial, and temporal searches across these metadata sources. This centralized repository of metadata with distributed data sources provides extremely fast search results to the user, while allowing data providers to advertise the availability of their data and maintain complete control and ownership of that data. Mercury periodically (typically daily)harvests metadata sources through a collection of interfaces and re-indexes these metadata to provide extremely rapid search capabilities, even over collections with tens of millions of metadata records. A number of both graphical and application interfaces have been constructed within Mercury, to enable both human users and other computer programs to perform queries. Mercury was also designed to support multiple different projects, so that the particular fields that can be queried and used with search filters are easy to configure for each different project.

  1. Mercury Toolset for Spatiotemporal Metadata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Bruce E.; Palanisamy, Giri; Devarakonda, Ranjeet; Rhyne, B. Timothy; Lindsley, Chris; Green, James

    2010-01-01

    Mercury (http://mercury.ornl.gov) is a set of tools for federated harvesting, searching, and retrieving metadata, particularly spatiotemporal metadata. Version 3.0 of the Mercury toolset provides orders of magnitude improvements in search speed, support for additional metadata formats, integration with Google Maps for spatial queries, facetted type search, support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) delivery of search results, and enhanced customization to meet the needs of the multiple projects that use Mercury. It provides a single portal to very quickly search for data and information contained in disparate data management systems, each of which may use different metadata formats. Mercury harvests metadata and key data from contributing project servers distributed around the world and builds a centralized index. The search interfaces then allow the users to perform a variety of fielded, spatial, and temporal searches across these metadata sources. This centralized repository of metadata with distributed data sources provides extremely fast search results to the user, while allowing data providers to advertise the availability of their data and maintain complete control and ownership of that data. Mercury periodically (typically daily) harvests metadata sources through a collection of interfaces and re-indexes these metadata to provide extremely rapid search capabilities, even over collections with tens of millions of metadata records. A number of both graphical and application interfaces have been constructed within Mercury, to enable both human users and other computer programs to perform queries. Mercury was also designed to support multiple different projects, so that the particular fields that can be queried and used with search filters are easy to configure for each different project.

  2. Venus Express en route to probe the planet's hidden mysteries

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-11-01

    reduced to once daily. If needed, trajectory correction manoeuvres can go ahead at the half-way stage in January. When making its closest approach, Venus Express will face far tougher conditions than those encountered by Mars Express on nearing the Red Planet. For while Venus's size is indeed similar to that of the Earth, its mass is 7.6 times that of Mars, with gravitational attraction to match. To resist this greater gravitational pull, the spacecraft will have to ignite its main engine for 53 minutes in order to achieve 1.3 km/second deceleration and place itself into a highly elliptical orbit around the planet. Most of its 570 kg of propellant will be used for this manoeuvre. A second engine firing will be necessary in order to reach final operational orbit: a polar elliptical orbit with 12-hour crossings. This will enable the probe to make approaches to within 250 km of the planet's surface and withdraw to distances of up to 66 000 km, so as to carry out close-up observations and also get an overall perspective. Exploring other planets to better understand planet Earth "The launch of Venus Express is a further illustration of Europe's determination to study the various bodies in our solar system", stressed Professor David Southwood, the Director of ESA's science programmes. "We started in 2003 with the launch of Mars Express to the Red Planet and Smart-1 to the Moon and both these missions have amply exceeded our expectations. Venus Express marks a further step forward, with a view to eventually rounding off our initial overview of our immediate planetary neighbours with the BepiColombo mission to Mercury to be launched in 2013." "With Venus Express, we fully intend to demonstrate yet again that studying the planets is of vital importance for life here on Earth", said Jean Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General. "To understand climate change on Earth and all the contributing factors, we cannot make do with solely observing our own planet. We need to decipher the

  3. Energetic Electron Acceleration and Injection During Dipolarization Events in Mercury's Magnetotail

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dewey, Ryan M.; Slavin, James A.; Raines, Jim M.; Baker, Daniel N.; Lawrence, David J.

    2017-12-01

    Energetic particle bursts associated with dipolarization events within Mercury's magnetosphere were first observed by Mariner 10. The events appear analogous to particle injections accompanying dipolarization events at Earth. The Energetic Particle Spectrometer (3 s resolution) aboard MESSENGER determined the particle bursts are composed entirely of electrons with energies ≳ 300 keV. Here we use the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer high-time-resolution (10 ms) energetic electron measurements to examine the relationship between energetic electron injections and magnetic field dipolarization in Mercury's magnetotail. Between March 2013 and April 2015, we identify 2,976 electron burst events within Mercury's magnetotail, 538 of which are closely associated with dipolarization events. These dipolarizations are detected on the basis of their rapid ( 2 s) increase in the northward component of the tail magnetic field (ΔBz 30 nT), which typically persists for 10 s. Similar to those at Earth, we find that these dipolarizations appear to be low-entropy, depleted flux tubes convecting planetward following the collapse of the inner magnetotail. We find that electrons experience brief, yet intense, betatron and Fermi acceleration during these dipolarizations, reaching energies 130 keV and contributing to nightside precipitation. Thermal protons experience only modest betatron acceleration. While only 25% of energetic electron events in Mercury's magnetotail are directly associated with dipolarization, the remaining events are consistent with the Near-Mercury Neutral Line model of magnetotail injection and eastward drift about Mercury, finding that electrons may participate in Shabansky-like closed drifts about the planet. Magnetotail dipolarization may be the dominant source of energetic electron acceleration in Mercury's magnetosphere.

  4. DENSITY AND ECCENTRICITY OF KEPLER PLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wu Yanqin [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, ON M5S 3H4 (Canada); Lithwick, Yoram [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208 (United States)

    2013-07-20

    We analyze the transit timing variations (TTV) obtained by the Kepler mission for 22 sub-Jovian planet pairs (19 published, 3 new) that lie close to mean motion resonances. We find that the TTV phases for most of these pairs lie close to zero, consistent with an eccentricity distribution that has a very low root-mean-squared value of e {approx} 0.01; but about a quarter of the pairs possess much higher eccentricities, up to e {approx} 0.1-0.4. For the low-eccentricity pairs, we are able to statistically remove the effect of eccentricity to obtain planet masses from TTV data. These masses, together with those measured by radial velocity, yield a best-fit mass-radius relation M {approx} 3 M{sub Circled-Plus }(R/R{sub Circled-Plus }). This corresponds to a constant surface escape velocity of {approx}20 km s{sup -1}. We separate the planets into two distinct groups: ''mid-sized'' (those greater than 3 R{sub Circled-Plus }) and 'compact' (those smaller). All mid-sized planets are found to be less dense than water and therefore must contain extensive H/He envelopes that are comparable in mass to that of their cores. We argue that these planets have been significantly sculpted by photoevaporation. Surprisingly, mid-sized planets, a minority among Kepler candidates, are discovered exclusively around stars more massive than 0.8 M{sub Sun }. The compact planets, on the other hand, are often denser than water. Combining our density measurements with those from radial velocity studies, we find that hotter compact planets tend to be denser, with the hottest ones reaching rock density. Moreover, hotter planets tend to be smaller in size. These results can be explained if the compact planets are made of rocky cores overlaid with a small amount of hydrogen, {<=}1% in mass, with water contributing little to their masses or sizes. Photoevaporation has exposed bare rocky cores in cases of the hottest planets. Our conclusion that these planets are likely

  5. Geophysical and atmospheric evolution of habitable planets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lammer, Helmut; Selsis, Frank; Chassefière, Eric; Breuer, Doris; Griessmeier, Jean-Mathias; Kulikov, Yuri N; Erkaev, Nikolai V; Khodachenko, Maxim L; Biernat, Helfried K; Leblanc, Francois; Kallio, Esa; Lundin, Richard; Westall, Frances; Bauer, Siegfried J; Beichman, Charles; Danchi, William; Eiroa, Carlos; Fridlund, Malcolm; Gröller, Hannes; Hanslmeier, Arnold; Hausleitner, Walter; Henning, Thomas; Herbst, Tom; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Léger, Alain; Leitzinger, Martin; Lichtenegger, Herbert I M; Liseau, René; Lunine, Jonathan; Motschmann, Uwe; Odert, Petra; Paresce, Francesco; Parnell, John; Penny, Alan; Quirrenbach, Andreas; Rauer, Heike; Röttgering, Huub; Schneider, Jean; Spohn, Tilman; Stadelmann, Anja; Stangl, Günter; Stam, Daphne; Tinetti, Giovanna; White, Glenn J

    2010-01-01

    The evolution of Earth-like habitable planets is a complex process that depends on the geodynamical and geophysical environments. In particular, it is necessary that plate tectonics remain active over billions of years. These geophysically active environments are strongly coupled to a planet's host star parameters, such as mass, luminosity and activity, orbit location of the habitable zone, and the planet's initial water inventory. Depending on the host star's radiation and particle flux evolution, the composition in the thermosphere, and the availability of an active magnetic dynamo, the atmospheres of Earth-like planets within their habitable zones are differently affected due to thermal and nonthermal escape processes. For some planets, strong atmospheric escape could even effect the stability of the atmosphere.

  6. Reflected eclipses on circumbinary planets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deeg H.J.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available A photometric method to detect planets orbiting around shortperiodic binary stars is presented. It is based on the detection of eclipse-signatures in the reflected light of circumbinary planets. Amplitudes of such ’reflected eclipses’ will depend on the orbital configurations of binary and planet relative to the observer. Reflected eclipses will occur with a period that is distinct from the binary eclipses, and their timing will also be modified by variations in the light-travel time of the eclipse signal. For the sample of eclipsing binaries found by the Kepler mission, reflected eclipses from close circumbinary planets may be detectable around at least several dozen binaries. A thorough detection effort of such reflected eclipses may then detect the inner planets present, or give solid limits to their abundance.

  7. YOUNG SOLAR SYSTEM's FIFTH GIANT PLANET?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nesvorný, David

    2011-01-01

    Studies of solar system formation suggest that the solar system's giant planets formed and migrated in the protoplanetary disk to reach the resonant orbits with all planets inside ∼15 AU from the Sun. After the gas disk's dispersal, Uranus and Neptune were likely scattered by the gas giants, and approached their current orbits while dispersing the transplanetary disk of planetesimals, whose remains survived to this time in the region known as the Kuiper Belt. Here we performed N-body integrations of the scattering phase between giant planets in an attempt to determine which initial states are plausible. We found that the dynamical simulations starting with a resonant system of four giant planets have a low success rate in matching the present orbits of giant planets and various other constraints (e.g., survival of the terrestrial planets). The dynamical evolution is typically too violent, if Jupiter and Saturn start in the 3:2 resonance, and leads to final systems with fewer than four planets. Several initial states stand out in that they show a relatively large likelihood of success in matching the constraints. Some of the statistically best results were obtained when assuming that the solar system initially had five giant planets and one ice giant, with the mass comparable to that of Uranus and Neptune, and which was ejected to interstellar space by Jupiter. This possibility appears to be conceivable in view of the recent discovery of a large number of free-floating planets in interstellar space, which indicates that planet ejection should be common.

  8. Young Solar System's Fifth Giant Planet?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nesvorný, David

    2011-12-01

    Studies of solar system formation suggest that the solar system's giant planets formed and migrated in the protoplanetary disk to reach the resonant orbits with all planets inside ~15 AU from the Sun. After the gas disk's dispersal, Uranus and Neptune were likely scattered by the gas giants, and approached their current orbits while dispersing the transplanetary disk of planetesimals, whose remains survived to this time in the region known as the Kuiper Belt. Here we performed N-body integrations of the scattering phase between giant planets in an attempt to determine which initial states are plausible. We found that the dynamical simulations starting with a resonant system of four giant planets have a low success rate in matching the present orbits of giant planets and various other constraints (e.g., survival of the terrestrial planets). The dynamical evolution is typically too violent, if Jupiter and Saturn start in the 3:2 resonance, and leads to final systems with fewer than four planets. Several initial states stand out in that they show a relatively large likelihood of success in matching the constraints. Some of the statistically best results were obtained when assuming that the solar system initially had five giant planets and one ice giant, with the mass comparable to that of Uranus and Neptune, and which was ejected to interstellar space by Jupiter. This possibility appears to be conceivable in view of the recent discovery of a large number of free-floating planets in interstellar space, which indicates that planet ejection should be common.

  9. PLANET HUNTERS: ASSESSING THE KEPLER INVENTORY OF SHORT-PERIOD PLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schwamb, Megan E.; Lintott, Chris J.; Lynn, Stuart; Smith, Arfon M.; Simpson, Robert J.; Fischer, Debra A.; Giguere, Matthew J.; Brewer, John M.; Parrish, Michael; Schawinski, Kevin

    2012-01-01

    We present the results from a search of data from the first 33.5 days of the Kepler science mission (Quarter 1) for exoplanet transits by the Planet Hunters citizen science project. Planet Hunters enlists members of the general public to visually identify transits in the publicly released Kepler light curves via the World Wide Web. Over 24,000 volunteers reviewed the Kepler Quarter 1 data set. We examine the abundance of ≥2 R ⊕ planets on short-period ( ⊕ Planet Hunters ≥85% efficient at identifying transit signals for planets with periods less than 15 days for the Kepler sample of target stars. Our high efficiency rate for simulated transits along with recovery of the majority of Kepler ≥4 R ⊕ planets suggests that the Kepler inventory of ≥4 R ⊕ short-period planets is nearly complete.

  10. The Topology and Properties of Mercury's Tail Current Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al Asad, M.; Johnson, C.; Philpott, L. C.

    2017-12-01

    The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft orbited Mercury from March 2011 until April 2015, measuring the vector magnetic field inside and outside the magnetosphere. MESSENGER repeatedly encountered the tail current sheet (TCS) on the nightside of the planet. We examined 1s magnetic field data within 20 minutes of the magnetic equator position on 2435 orbit to characterize the shape and properties of Mercury's TCS and investigate its response to solar wind conditions. Identification of the TCS from vector magnetic field data used the following criteria: (1) a rapid rotation in the field direction from anti-sunward in the southern tail lobe to sunward in the northern lobe, accompanied by (2) a decrease in the field magnitude and (3) an increase in field variability. The current sheet was encountered on 606 orbits allowing the probability of encountering the tail current sheet in the equatorial plane to be mapped. Orbits on which the TCS was identified were binned spatially and superposed epoch analysis used to determine the field magnitude at the edge of the TCS, from which its time-averaged 3D shape was extracted. The TCS has an inner edge at 1.5 RM downtail in the midnight plane with a thickness of 0.34 RM, extends to the observation limit of 2.8 RM, decreasing in thickness to 0.28 RM. The thickness of the TCS increases in the dawn/dusk directions to 0.7 RM at 1.8 RM downtail and ± 1.5 RM from the noon-midnight plane and it warps towards the planet in the dawn/dusk directions. No strong correlations were found between the time-averaged shape and position of the TCS and solar wind conditions such as the solar wind ram pressure and the magnetic disturbance index, nor with parameters that control these conditions such as heliocentric distance. However, it is likely that the TCS does respond to these conditions on time scales too short to be characterized with MESSENGER data. In addition to mapping the shape of the

  11. Comprehensive wide-band magnitudes and albedos for the planets, with applications to exo-planets and Planet Nine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallama, Anthony; Krobusek, Bruce; Pavlov, Hristo

    2017-01-01

    Complete sets of reference magnitudes in all 7 Johnson-Cousins bands (U, B, V, R, I, RC and IC) and the 5 principal Sloan bands (u', g', r', i', and z') are presented for the 8 planets. These data are accompanied by illumination phase functions and other formulas which characterize the instantaneous brightness of the planets. The main source of Johnson-Cousins magnitudes is a series of individualized photometric studies reported in recent years. Gaps in that dataset were filled with magnitudes synthesized in this study from published spectrophotometry. The planetary Sloan magnitudes, which are established here for the first time, are an average of newly recorded Sloan filter photometry, synthetic magnitudes and values transformed from the Johnson-Cousins system. Geometric albedos derived from these two sets of magnitudes are consistent within each photometric system and between the systems for all planets and in all bands. This consistency validates the albedos themselves as well as the magnitudes from which they were derived. In addition, a quantity termed the delta stellar magnitude is introduced to indicate the difference between the magnitude of a planet and that of its parent star. A table of these delta values for exo-planets possessing a range of physical characteristics is presented. The delta magnitudes are for phase angle 90° where a planet is near the greatest apparent separation from its star. This quantity may be useful in exo-planet detection and observation strategies when an estimate of the signal-to-noise ratio is needed. Likewise, the phase curves presented in this paper can be used for characterizing exo-planets. Finally, magnitudes for the proposed Planet Nine are estimated, and we note that P9 may be especially faint at red and near-IR wavelengths.

  12. Mission,System Design and Payload Aspects of ESA's Mercury Cornerstone Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferri, A.; Anselmi, A.; Scoon, G. E. N.

    1999-09-01

    Aim of this paper is to summarise the 1-year study performed by Alenia Aerospazio in close co-operation with the European Space Agency, on the Mercury Cornerstone System and Technology Study, as a part of Horizon 2000+ Scientific Programme plan. ESA's definition study towards a mission to Mercury conceives the launch of a S/C in 2009, on a two to three years journey, plus a one-year scientific observations and data take. The mission's primary objectives are manyfolded, aiming at approaching basic scientific questions on the origin and evolution of Mercury: identify and map the chemical and mineral composition of the surface, measure the topography of surface landforms, define the gravitational field, investigate particles and magnetic fields. The mission is also intended to resolve the librational state of the planet, in a system experiment requiring high accuracy inertial attitude (arcsecond level) and orbit (m-level) reconstitution. This experiment will allow to infer whether Mercury has a molten core, which is crucial to theories of magnetic field generation, and theories of the thermal history of terrestrial type planets. A hard-lander is planned to perform in-situ surface geochemical analysis. The mission is expected to provide scientists with a global portrait of Mercury returning about 1200 Gbits of scientific data, during a 1-year observation phase. The crucial aspects of the spacecraft design have to do with the high-temperature and high-radiation environment. Thermal control is achieved by a combination of orbit selection, attitude law, and special design provisions for IR shielding and HT insulation. Ad-hoc design provisions are envisaged for power and antenna mechanisms. Though the conceptual objectives of this industrial study focused on system architectures and enabling technologies for a "Cornerstone" class mission, in this paper emphasis is given on the scientific payload aspects.

  13. Modular model for Mercury's magnetospheric magnetic field confined within the average observed magnetopause.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korth, Haje; Tsyganenko, Nikolai A; Johnson, Catherine L; Philpott, Lydia C; Anderson, Brian J; Al Asad, Manar M; Solomon, Sean C; McNutt, Ralph L

    2015-06-01

    Accurate knowledge of Mercury's magnetospheric magnetic field is required to understand the sources of the planet's internal field. We present the first model of Mercury's magnetospheric magnetic field confined within a magnetopause shape derived from Magnetometer observations by the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft. The field of internal origin is approximated by a dipole of magnitude 190 nT R M 3 , where R M is Mercury's radius, offset northward by 479 km along the spin axis. External field sources include currents flowing on the magnetopause boundary and in the cross-tail current sheet. The cross-tail current is described by a disk-shaped current near the planet and a sheet current at larger (≳ 5  R M ) antisunward distances. The tail currents are constrained by minimizing the root-mean-square (RMS) residual between the model and the magnetic field observed within the magnetosphere. The magnetopause current contributions are derived by shielding the field of each module external to the magnetopause by minimizing the RMS normal component of the magnetic field at the magnetopause. The new model yields improvements over the previously developed paraboloid model in regions that are close to the magnetopause and the nightside magnetic equatorial plane. Magnetic field residuals remain that are distributed systematically over large areas and vary monotonically with magnetic activity. Further advances in empirical descriptions of Mercury's magnetospheric external field will need to account for the dependence of the tail and magnetopause currents on magnetic activity and additional sources within the magnetosphere associated with Birkeland currents and plasma distributions near the dayside magnetopause.

  14. Imagine Moving Off the Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elfrey, Priscilla R.

    2006-01-01

    Moving off the planet will be a defining moment of this century as landing on the Moon was in the last. For that to happen for humans to go where humans cannot go-- simulation is the sole solution. NASA supports simulation for life-cycle activities: design, analysis, test, checkout, operations, review and training. We contemplate time spans of a century and more, teams dispersed to different planets and the need for systems that endure or adapt as missions, teams and technology change. Without imagination such goals are impossible. But with imagination we can go outside our present perception of reality to think about and take action on what has been, is and, especially, what might be. Consciously maturing an imagined, possibly workable, idea through framing it to optimization to design, and building the product provides us with a new approach to innovation and simulation fidelity. We address options, analyze, test and make improvements in how we think and work. Each step includes increasingly exact information about costs, schedule, who will be needed, where, when and how. NASA i integrating such thinking into its Exploration Product Realization Hierarchy for simulation and analysis, test and verification, and stimulus response goals. Technically NASA follows a timeline of studies, analysis, definition, design, development and operations with concurrent documentation. We have matched this Product Realization Hierarchy with a continuum from image to realization that incorporates commitment, current and needed research and communication to ensure superior and creative problem solving as well as advances in simulation. One result is a new approach to collaborative systems. Another is a distributed observer network prototyped using game engine technology bringing advanced 3-D simulation of a simulation to the desktop enabling people to develop shared consensus of its meaning. Much of the value of simulation comes from developing in people their ability to make good

  15. Phytoremediation of Ionic and Methyl Mercury Pollution

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Meagher, Richard B.

    2005-06-01

    Phytoremediation is defined as the use of plants to extract, resist, detoxify, and/or sequester toxic environmental pollutants. The long-term goal of the proposed research is to develop and test highly productive, field-adapted plant species that have been engineered for the phytoremediation of mercury. A variety of different genes, which should enable plants to clean mercury polluted sites are being tested as tools for mercury phytoremediation, first in model laboratory plants and then in potential field species. Several of these genes have already been shown to enhance mercury phytoremediation. Mercury pollution is a serious, world-wide problem affecting the health of human and wildlife populations. Environmentally, the most serious mercury threat is the production of methylmercury (CH3Hg+) by native bacteria at mercury contaminated wetland sites. Methylmercury is inherently more toxic than metallic (Hg(0)) or ionic (Hg(II)) mercury, and because methylmercury is prolifically biomagnified up the food chain, it poses the most immediate danger to animal populations. We have successfully engineered two model plants, Arabidopsis and tobacco, to use the bacterial merB gene to convert methylmercury to less toxic ionic mercury and to use the bacterial merA gene to further detoxify ionic mercury to the least toxic form of mercury, metallic mercury. Plants expressing both MerA and MerB proteins detoxify methylmercury in two steps to the metallic form. These plants germinate, grow, and set seed at normal growth rates on levels of methylmercury or ionic mercury that are lethal to normal plants. Our newest efforts involve engineering plants with several additional bacterial and plant genes that allow for higher levels of mercury resistance and mercury hyperaccumulation. The potential for these plants to hyperaccumulate mercury was further advanced by developing constitutive, aboveground, and root-specific gene expression systems. Our current strategy is to engineer plants to

  16. Autometallographic tracing of mercury in frog liver

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Loumbourdis, N.S.; Danscher, G.

    2004-01-01

    The distribution of mercury in the liver of the frog Rana ridibunda with the autometallographic method was investigated. The mercury specific autometallographic (HgS/Se AMG ) technique is a sensitive histochemical approach for tracing mercury in tissues from mercury-exposed organisms. Mercury accumulates in vivo as mercury sulphur/mercury selenium nanocrystals that can be silver-enhanced. Thus, only a fraction of the Hg can be visualized. Six animals were exposed for one day and another group of six animals for 6 days in 1 ppm mercury (as HgCI 2 ) dissolved in fresh water. A third group of six animals, served as controls, were sacrificed the day of arrival at the laboratory. First, mercury appears in the blood plasma and erythrocytes. Next, mercury moves to hepatocytes and in the apical part of the cells, that facing bile canaliculi. In a next step, mercury appears in the endothelial and Kupffer cells. It seems likely that, the mercury of hepatocytes moves through bile canaliculi to the gut, most probably bound to glutathione and/or other similar ligands. Most probably, the endothelial and Kupffer cells comprise the first line of defense against metal toxicity. - Frogs can be good bioindicators of mercury

  17. Mercury: Aspects of its ecology and environmental toxicity. [physiological effects of mercury compound contamination of environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siegel, S. M.

    1973-01-01

    A study was conducted to determine the effects of mercury pollution on the environment. The possible sources of mercury contamination in sea water are identified. The effects of mercury on food sources, as represented by swordfish, are analyzed. The physiological effects of varying concentrations of mercury are reported. Emphasis is placed on the situation existing in the Hawaiian Islands.

  18. Groundwater Modeling Of Mercury Pollution At A Former Mercury Cell Chlor Alkali Facility In Pavoldar, Kazakhstan

    Science.gov (United States)

    In Kazakhstan, there is a serious case of mercury pollution near the city of Pavlodar from an old mercury cell chlor-alkali plant. The soil, sediment, and water is severly contaminated with mercury and mercury compounds as a result of the industrial activity of this chemical pla...

  19. Does the Galactic Bulge Have Fewer Planets?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-12-01

    The Milky Ways dense central bulge is a very different environment than the surrounding galactic disk in which we live. Do the differences affect the ability of planets to form in the bulge?Exploring Galactic PlanetsSchematic illustrating how gravitational microlensing by an extrasolar planet works. [NASA]Planet formation is a complex process with many aspects that we dont yet understand. Do environmental properties like host star metallicity, the density of nearby stars, or the intensity of the ambient radiation field affect the ability of planets to form? To answer these questions, we will ultimately need to search for planets around stars in a large variety of different environments in our galaxy.One way to detect recently formed, distant planets is by gravitational microlensing. In this process, light from a distant source star is bent by a lens star that is briefly located between us and the source. As the Earth moves, this momentary alignment causes a blip in the sources light curve that we can detect and planets hosted by the lens star can cause an additional observable bump.Artists impression of the Milky Way galaxy. The central bulge is much denserthan the surroundingdisk. [ESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kornmesser/R. Hurt]Relative AbundancesMost source stars reside in the galactic bulge, so microlensing events can probe planetary systems at any distance between the Earth and the galactic bulge. This means that planet detections from microlensing could potentially be used to measure the relative abundances of exoplanets in different parts of our galaxy.A team of scientists led by Matthew Penny, a Sagan postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University, set out to do just that. The group considered a sample of 31 exoplanetary systems detected by microlensing and asked the following question: are the planet abundances in the galactic bulge and the galactic disk the same?A Paucity of PlanetsTo answer this question, Penny and collaborators derived the expected

  20. No Snowball on Habitable Tidally Locked Planets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Checlair, Jade; Abbot, Dorian S. [Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 5734 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States); Menou, Kristen, E-mail: jadecheclair@uchicago.edu [Centre for Planetary Sciences, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4 (Canada)

    2017-08-20

    The TRAPPIST-1, Proxima Centauri, and LHS 1140 systems are the most exciting prospects for future follow-up observations of potentially inhabited planets. All of the planets orbit nearby M-stars and are likely tidally locked in 1:1 spin–orbit states, which motivates the consideration of the effects that tidal locking might have on planetary habitability. On Earth, periods of global glaciation (snowballs) may have been essential for habitability and remote signs of life (biosignatures) because they are correlated with increases in the complexity of life and in the atmospheric oxygen concentration. In this paper, we investigate the snowball bifurcation (sudden onset of global glaciation) on tidally locked planets using both an energy balance model and an intermediate-complexity global climate model. We show that tidally locked planets are unlikely to exhibit a snowball bifurcation as a direct result of the spatial pattern of insolation they receive. Instead, they will smoothly transition from partial to complete ice coverage and back. A major implication of this work is that tidally locked planets with an active carbon cycle should not be found in a snowball state. Moreover, this work implies that tidally locked planets near the outer edge of the habitable zone with low CO{sub 2} outgassing fluxes will equilibrate with a small unglaciated substellar region rather than cycling between warm and snowball states. More work is needed to determine how the lack of a snowball bifurcation might affect the development of life on a tidally locked planet.

  1. No Snowball on Habitable Tidally Locked Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Checlair, Jade; Menou, Kristen; Abbot, Dorian S.

    2017-08-01

    The TRAPPIST-1, Proxima Centauri, and LHS 1140 systems are the most exciting prospects for future follow-up observations of potentially inhabited planets. All of the planets orbit nearby M-stars and are likely tidally locked in 1:1 spin–orbit states, which motivates the consideration of the effects that tidal locking might have on planetary habitability. On Earth, periods of global glaciation (snowballs) may have been essential for habitability and remote signs of life (biosignatures) because they are correlated with increases in the complexity of life and in the atmospheric oxygen concentration. In this paper, we investigate the snowball bifurcation (sudden onset of global glaciation) on tidally locked planets using both an energy balance model and an intermediate-complexity global climate model. We show that tidally locked planets are unlikely to exhibit a snowball bifurcation as a direct result of the spatial pattern of insolation they receive. Instead, they will smoothly transition from partial to complete ice coverage and back. A major implication of this work is that tidally locked planets with an active carbon cycle should not be found in a snowball state. Moreover, this work implies that tidally locked planets near the outer edge of the habitable zone with low CO2 outgassing fluxes will equilibrate with a small unglaciated substellar region rather than cycling between warm and snowball states. More work is needed to determine how the lack of a snowball bifurcation might affect the development of life on a tidally locked planet.

  2. No Snowball on Habitable Tidally Locked Planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Checlair, Jade; Abbot, Dorian S.; Menou, Kristen

    2017-01-01

    The TRAPPIST-1, Proxima Centauri, and LHS 1140 systems are the most exciting prospects for future follow-up observations of potentially inhabited planets. All of the planets orbit nearby M-stars and are likely tidally locked in 1:1 spin–orbit states, which motivates the consideration of the effects that tidal locking might have on planetary habitability. On Earth, periods of global glaciation (snowballs) may have been essential for habitability and remote signs of life (biosignatures) because they are correlated with increases in the complexity of life and in the atmospheric oxygen concentration. In this paper, we investigate the snowball bifurcation (sudden onset of global glaciation) on tidally locked planets using both an energy balance model and an intermediate-complexity global climate model. We show that tidally locked planets are unlikely to exhibit a snowball bifurcation as a direct result of the spatial pattern of insolation they receive. Instead, they will smoothly transition from partial to complete ice coverage and back. A major implication of this work is that tidally locked planets with an active carbon cycle should not be found in a snowball state. Moreover, this work implies that tidally locked planets near the outer edge of the habitable zone with low CO 2 outgassing fluxes will equilibrate with a small unglaciated substellar region rather than cycling between warm and snowball states. More work is needed to determine how the lack of a snowball bifurcation might affect the development of life on a tidally locked planet.

  3. Exploring the planets a memoir

    CERN Document Server

    Taylor, Fred

    2016-01-01

    This book is an informal, semi-autobiographical history, from the particular viewpoint of someone who was involved, of the exploration of the Solar System using spacecraft. The author is a Northumbrian, a Liverpudlian, a Californian, and an Oxford Don with half a century of experience of devising and deploying experiments to study the Earth and the planets, moons, and small bodies of the Solar System. Along with memories and anecdotes about his experiences as a participant in the space programme from its earliest days to the present, he describes in non-technical terms the science goals that drove the projects as well as the politics, pressures, and problems that had to be addressed and overcome on the way. The theme is the scientific intent of these ambitious voyages of discovery, and the joys and hardships of working to see them achieved. The narrative gives a first-hand account of things like how Earth satellites came to revolutionize weather forecasting, starting in the 1960s; how observations from space ...

  4. Used planet: a global history.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellis, Erle C; Kaplan, Jed O; Fuller, Dorian Q; Vavrus, Steve; Klein Goldewijk, Kees; Verburg, Peter H

    2013-05-14

    Human use of land has transformed ecosystem pattern and process across most of the terrestrial biosphere, a global change often described as historically recent and potentially catastrophic for both humanity and the biosphere. Interdisciplinary paleoecological, archaeological, and historical studies challenge this view, indicating that land use has been extensive and sustained for millennia in some regions and that recent trends may represent as much a recovery as an acceleration. Here we synthesize recent scientific evidence and theory on the emergence, history, and future of land use as a process transforming the Earth System and use this to explain why relatively small human populations likely caused widespread and profound ecological changes more than 3,000 y ago, whereas the largest and wealthiest human populations in history are using less arable land per person every decade. Contrasting two spatially explicit global reconstructions of land-use history shows that reconstructions incorporating adaptive changes in land-use systems over time, including land-use intensification, offer a more spatially detailed and plausible assessment of our planet's history, with a biosphere and perhaps even climate long ago affected by humans. Although land-use processes are now shifting rapidly from historical patterns in both type and scale, integrative global land-use models that incorporate dynamic adaptations in human-environment relationships help to advance our understanding of both past and future land-use changes, including their sustainability and potential global effects.

  5. PLANET-PLANET SCATTERING IN PLANETESIMAL DISKS. II. PREDICTIONS FOR OUTER EXTRASOLAR PLANETARY SYSTEMS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Raymond, Sean N.; Armitage, Philip J.; Gorelick, Noel

    2010-01-01

    We develop an idealized dynamical model to predict the typical properties of outer extrasolar planetary systems, at radii comparable to the Jupiter-to-Neptune region of the solar system. The model is based upon the hypothesis that dynamical evolution in outer planetary systems is controlled by a combination of planet-planet scattering and planetary interactions with an exterior disk of small bodies ('planetesimals'). Our results are based on 5000 long duration N-body simulations that follow the evolution of three planets from a few to 10 AU, together with a planetesimal disk containing 50 M + from 10 to 20 AU. For large planet masses (M ∼> M Sat ), the model recovers the observed eccentricity distribution of extrasolar planets. For lower-mass planets, the range of outcomes in models with disks is far greater than that which is seen in isolated planet-planet scattering. Common outcomes include strong scattering among massive planets, sudden jumps in eccentricity due to resonance crossings driven by divergent migration, and re-circularization of scattered low-mass planets in the outer disk. We present the distributions of the eccentricity and inclination that result, and discuss how they vary with planet mass and initial system architecture. In agreement with other studies, we find that the currently observed eccentricity distribution (derived primarily from planets at a ∼ -1 and periods in excess of 10 years will provide constraints on this regime. Finally, we present an analysis of the predicted separation of planets in two-planet systems, and of the population of planets in mean-motion resonances (MMRs). We show that, if there are systems with ∼ Jupiter-mass planets that avoid close encounters, the planetesimal disk acts as a damping mechanism and populates MMRs at a very high rate (50%-80%). In many cases, resonant chains (in particular the 4:2:1 Laplace resonance) are set up among all three planets. We expect such resonant chains to be common among massive

  6. Sorption of mercury on chemically synthesized polyaniline

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Remya Devi, P.S.; Verma, R.; Sudersanan, M.

    2006-01-01

    Sorption of inorganic mercury (Hg 2+ ) and methyl mercury, on chemically synthesized polyaniline, in 0.1-10N HCl solutions has been studied. Hg 2+ is strongly sorbed at low acidities and the extent of sorption decreases with increase in acidity. The sorption of methyl mercury is very low in the HCl concentration range studied. Sorption of Hg 2+ on polyaniline in 0.1-10N LiCl and H 2 SO 4 solutions has also been studied. The analysis of the data indicates that the sorption of Hg 2+ depends on the degree of protonation of polyaniline and the nature of mercury(II) chloride complexes in solution. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis (XPS) of polyaniline sorbed with mercury show that mercury is bound as Hg 2+ . Sorbed mercury is quantitatively eluted from polyaniline with 0.5N HNO 3 . Polyaniline can be used for separation and pre-concentration of inorganic mercury from aqueous samples. (author)

  7. EPA Leadership in the Global Mercury Partnership

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Global Mercury Partnership is a voluntary multi-stakeholder partnership initiated in 2005 to take immediate actions to protect human health and the environment from the releases of mercury and its compounds to the environment.

  8. Mercury-Containing Devices and Demolition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Some items inside residential buildings contain mercury, which poses a persistent and toxic human health and environmental threat. These materials should be carefully salvaged for proper recycling to prevent mercury contamination prior to demolition.

  9. Health Effects of Exposures to Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Mercury in Your Environment Contact Us Share Health Effects of Exposures to Mercury Related Health Information for ... About PDF ; discussion starts on page 20) Methylmercury Effects Effects on People of All Ages Exposure to ...

  10. The effect of longterm exposure to mercury on the bacterial community in marine sediment

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rasmussen, Lasse Dam; Sørensen, Søren Johannes

    1998-01-01

    Mercury pollution, bacteria, diversity, mercury resistance, antibiotic resistance, plasmid abundance......Mercury pollution, bacteria, diversity, mercury resistance, antibiotic resistance, plasmid abundance...

  11. THE EFFECT OF PLANET-PLANET SCATTERING ON THE SURVIVAL OF EXOMOONS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gong Yanxiang; Zhou Jilin; Xie Jiwei [Department of Astronomy and Key Laboratory of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics in Ministry of Education, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093 (China); Wu Xiaomei, E-mail: zhoujl@nju.edu.cn, E-mail: yxgong@nju.edu.cn [College of Physics and Electronic Engineering, Taishan University, Taian 271021 (China)

    2013-05-20

    Compared to the giant planets in the solar system, exoplanets have many remarkable properties, such as the prevalence of giant planets on eccentric orbits and the presence of hot Jupiters. Planet-planet scattering (PPS) between giant planets is a possible mechanism to interpret the above and other observed properties. If the observed giant planet architectures are indeed outcomes of PPS, such a drastic dynamical process must affect their primordial moon systems. In this Letter, we discuss the effect of PPS on the survival of exoplanets' regular moons. From an observational viewpoint, some preliminary conclusions are drawn from the simulations. (1) PPS is a destructive process to the moon systems; single planets on eccentric orbits are not ideal moon-search targets. (2) If hot Jupiters formed through PPS, their original moons have little chance of survival. (3) Planets in multiple systems with small eccentricities are more likely to hold their primordial moons. (4) Compared with lower-mass planets, massive planets in multiple systems may not be the preferred moon-search targets if the system underwent a PPS history.

  12. Limits On Undetected Planets in the Six Transiting Planets Kepler-11 System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lissauer, Jack

    2017-01-01

    The Kepler-11 has five inner planets ranging from approx. 2 - 1 times as massive Earth in a tightly-packed configuration, with orbital periods between 10 and 47 days. A sixth planet, Kepler-11 g, with a period of118 days, is also observed. The spacing between planets Kepler-11 f and Kepler-11 g is wide enough to allow room for a planet to orbit stably between them. We compare six and seven planet fits to measured transit timing variations (TTVs) of the six known planets. We find that in most cases an additional planet between Kepler-11 f and Kepler-11 g degrades rather than enhances the fit to the TTV data, and where the fit is improved, the improvement provides no significant evidence of a planet between Kepler-11 f and Kepler-11 g. This implies that any planet in this region must be low in mass. We also provide constraints on undiscovered planets orbiting exterior to Kepler-11 g. representations will be described.

  13. Extrasolar planets : - From gaseous giant planets to rocky planets. - Steps towards the detection of life biomarkers.

    CERN Multimedia

    CERN. Geneva

    2017-01-01

    Today, great efforts are made to detect Earth-mass rocky planets in the so-called habitable zone of their host stars. What are the difficulties, the instrumental projects  and the already detected interesting systems ?

  14. The Planets Approach to Migration Tools

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zierau, Eld; van Wijk, Caroline

    2008-01-01

    This paper discusses the Planets approach to migration tool development. The approach consists of enhancing existing migration tools rather than developing tools from scratch. This pragmatic approach is based on the Planets view of the current situation for migration tools and two claims. The first...... claim is that the market will cover the required tools for commonly used formats. The second claim is that in the long term less tools will be required due to growing use of archiving standard formats. The Planets view on the current situation, the scope of tool development and the claims stated are...

  15. Radio emission of the sun and planets

    CERN Document Server

    Zheleznyakov, V V

    1970-01-01

    International Series of Monographs in Natural Philosophy, Volume 25: Radio Emission of the Sun and Planets presents the origin of the radio emission of the planets. This book examines the outstanding triumphs achieved by radio astronomy of the solar system. Comprised of 10 chapters, this volume begins with an overview of the physical conditions in the upper layers of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. This text then examines the three characteristics of radio emission, namely, the frequency spectrum, the polarization, and the angular spectrum. Other chapters consider the measurements of the i

  16. The composition of outer planet atmospheres

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gautier, D.; Owen, T.

    1989-01-01

    An evaluation is made of current information on the elemental abundances and D/H ratios of the giant planets' atmospheres, together with extant hypotheses based on these observational data. Carbon, as well as other heavy elements in less well-determined degree, show an increasing enrichment in the Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune sequence; this increase appears to be approximately correlated with the core mass/total planet mass ratio and may arise either from the efficient upward convection of gases produced from the cores during the formation of these planets, or from the dissolution of infalling planetesimals in the early atmospheres

  17. Planet traps and first planets: The critical metallicity for gas giant formation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hasegawa, Yasuhiro; Hirashita, Hiroyuki, E-mail: yasu@asiaa.sinica.edu.tw, E-mail: hirashita@asiaa.sinica.edu.tw [Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica (ASIAA), P.O. Box 23-141, Taipei 10617, Taiwan (China)

    2014-06-10

    The ubiquity of planets poses an interesting question: when are first planets formed in galaxies? We investigate this by adopting a theoretical model where planet traps are combined with the standard core accretion scenario in which the efficiency of forming planetary cores directly relates to the metallicity ([Fe/H]) in disks. Three characteristic exoplanetary populations are examined: hot Jupiters, exo-Jupiters around 1 AU, and low-mass planets in tight orbits, such as super-Earths. We statistically compute planet formation frequencies (PFFs), as well as the orbital radius (〈R{sub rapid}〉) within which gas accretion becomes efficient enough to form Jovian planets, as a function of metallicity (–2 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤–0.6). We show that the total PFFs for these three populations increase steadily with metallicity. This is the direct outcome of the core accretion picture. For the metallicity range considered here, the population of low-mass planets dominates Jovian planets. The Jovian planets contribute to the PFFs above [Fe/H] ≅ –1. We find that the hot Jupiters form more efficiently than the exo-Jupiters at [Fe/H] ≲ –0.7. This arises from the slower growth of planetary cores and their more efficient radial inward transport by the host traps in lower metallicity disks. We show that the critical metallicity for forming Jovian planets is [Fe/H] ≅ –1.2 by comparing 〈R{sub rapid}〉 of hot Jupiters and low-mass planets. The comparison intrinsically links to the different gas accretion efficiency between these two types of planets. Therefore, this study implies that important physical processes in planet formation may be tested by exoplanet observations around metal-poor stars.

  18. Planet traps and first planets: The critical metallicity for gas giant formation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hasegawa, Yasuhiro; Hirashita, Hiroyuki

    2014-01-01

    The ubiquity of planets poses an interesting question: when are first planets formed in galaxies? We investigate this by adopting a theoretical model where planet traps are combined with the standard core accretion scenario in which the efficiency of forming planetary cores directly relates to the metallicity ([Fe/H]) in disks. Three characteristic exoplanetary populations are examined: hot Jupiters, exo-Jupiters around 1 AU, and low-mass planets in tight orbits, such as super-Earths. We statistically compute planet formation frequencies (PFFs), as well as the orbital radius (〈R rapid 〉) within which gas accretion becomes efficient enough to form Jovian planets, as a function of metallicity (–2 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤–0.6). We show that the total PFFs for these three populations increase steadily with metallicity. This is the direct outcome of the core accretion picture. For the metallicity range considered here, the population of low-mass planets dominates Jovian planets. The Jovian planets contribute to the PFFs above [Fe/H] ≅ –1. We find that the hot Jupiters form more efficiently than the exo-Jupiters at [Fe/H] ≲ –0.7. This arises from the slower growth of planetary cores and their more efficient radial inward transport by the host traps in lower metallicity disks. We show that the critical metallicity for forming Jovian planets is [Fe/H] ≅ –1.2 by comparing 〈R rapid 〉 of hot Jupiters and low-mass planets. The comparison intrinsically links to the different gas accretion efficiency between these two types of planets. Therefore, this study implies that important physical processes in planet formation may be tested by exoplanet observations around metal-poor stars.

  19. Method for the removal and recovery of mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Easterly, Clay E.; Vass, Arpad A.; Tyndall, Richard L.

    1997-01-01

    The present invention is an enhanced method for the removal and recovery of mercury from mercury-contaminated matrices. The method involves contacting a mercury-contaminated matrix with an aqueous dispersant solution derived from specific intra-amoebic isolates to release the mercury from the mercury-contaminated matrix and emulsify the mercury; then, contacting the matrix with an amalgamating metal from a metal source to amalgamate the mercury to the amalgamating metal; removing the metallic source from the mercury-contaminated matrix; and heating the metallic source to vaporize the mercury in a closed system to capture the mercury vapors.

  20. Phytoremediation of Ionic and Methyl Mercury Pollution

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Meagher, Richard B.

    2004-12-01

    Phytoremediation is defined as the use of plants to extract, resist, detoxify, and/or sequester toxic environmental pollutants. The long-term goal of the proposed research is to develop and test highly productive, field-adapted plant species that have been engineered for the phytoremediation of mercury. A variety of different genes, which should enable plants to clean mercury polluted sites are being tested as tools for mercury phytoremediation, first in model laboratory plants and then in potential field species. Several of these genes have already been shown to enhance mercury phytoremediation. Mercury pollution is a serious, world-wide problem affecting the health of human and wildlife populations. Environmentally, the most serious mercury threat is the production of methylmercury (CH3Hg+) by native bacteria at mercury contaminated wetland sites. Methylmercury is inherently more toxic than metallic (Hg(0)) or ionic (Hg(II)) mercury, and because methylmercury is prolifically biomagnified up the food chain, it poses the most immediate danger to animal populations. We have successfully engineered two model plants, Arabidopsis and tobacco, to use the bacterial merB gene to convert methylmercury to less toxic ionic mercury and to use the bacterial merA gene to further detoxify ionic mercury to the least toxic form of mercury, metallic mercury. Plants expressing both MerA and MerB proteins detoxify methylmercury in two steps to the metallic form. These plants germinate, grow, and set seed at normal growth rates on levels of methylmercury or ionic mercury that are lethal to normal plants. Our newest efforts involve engineering plants with several additional bacterial and plant genes that allow for higher levels of mercury resistance and mercury hyperaccumulation. The potential for these plants to hyperaccumulate mercury was further advanced by developing constitutive, aboveground, and root-specific gene expression systems.

  1. Study of the unknown hemisphere of mercury by ground-based astronomical facilities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ksanfomality, L. V.

    2011-08-01

    The short exposure method proved to be very productive in ground-based observations of Mercury. Telescopic observations with short exposures, together with computer codes for the processing of data arrays of many thousands of original electronic photos, make it possible to improve the resolution of images from ground-based instruments to almost the diffraction limit. The resulting composite images are comparable with images from spacecrafts approaching from a distance of about 1 million km. This paper presents images of the hemisphere of Mercury in longitude sectors 90°-180°W, 215°-350°W, and 50°-90°W, including, among others, areas not covered by spacecraft cameras. For the first time a giant S basin was discovered in the sector of longitudes 250°-290°W, which is the largest formation of this type on terrestrial planets. Mercury has a strong phase effects. As a result, the view of the surface changes completely with the change in the planetary phase. But the choice of the phase in the study using spacecrafts is limited by orbital characteristics of the mission. Thus, ground-based observations of the planet provide a valuable support.

  2. Alfven Wave Reflection Model of Field-Aligned Currents at Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyatsky, Wladislaw; Khazanov, George V.; Slavin, James

    2010-01-01

    An Alfven Wave Reflection (AWR) model is proposed that provides closure for strong field-aligned currents (FACs) driven by the magnetopause reconnection in the magnetospheres of planets having no significant ionospheric and surface electrical conductance. The model is based on properties of the Alfven waves, generated at high altitudes and reflected from the low-conductivity surface of the planet. When magnetospheric convection is very slow, the incident and reflected Alfven waves propagate along approximately the same path. In this case, the net field-aligned currents will be small. However, as the convection speed increases. the reflected wave is displaced relatively to the incident wave so that the incident and reflected waves no longer compensate each other. In this case, the net field-aligned current may be large despite the lack of significant ionospheric and surface conductivity. Our estimate shows that for typical solar wind conditions at Mercury, the magnitude of Region 1-type FACs in Mercury's magnetosphere may reach hundreds of kilo-Amperes. This AWR model of field-aligned currents may provide a solution to the long-standing problem of the closure of FACs in the Mercury's magnetosphere. c2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Modeling of the Magnetosphere of Mercury at the Time of the First MESSENGER Flyby

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benna, Mehdi; Anderson, Brian J.; Baker, Daniel N.; Boardsen, Scott A.; Gloeckler, George; Gold, Robert E.; Ho, George C.; Killen, Rosemary M.; Korth, Haje; Krimigis, Stamatios M.; hide

    2010-01-01

    The MESSENGER spacecraft flyby of Mercury on 14 January 2008 provided a new opportunity to study the intrinsic magnetic field of the innermost planet and its interaction with the solar wind, The model presented in this paper is based on the solution of the three-dimensional, bi-f1uid equations for solar wind protons and electrons in the absence of mass loading, In this study we provide new estimates of Mercury's intrinsic magnetic field and the solar wind conditions that prevailed at the time of the flyby. We show that the location of the boundary layers and the strength of the magnetic field along the spacecraft trajectory can be reproduced with a solar wind ram pressure P(sub sw) = 6.8 nPa and a planetary magnetic dipole having a magnitude of 210 R(sub M)(exp 3)- nT and an offset of 0.18 R(sub M) to the north of the equator, where R(sub M) is Mercury's radius. Analysis of the plasma flow reveals the existence of a stable drift belt around the planet; such a belt can account for the locations of diamagnetic decreases observed by the MESSENGER Magnetometer. Moreover, we determine that the ion impact rate at the n011hern cusp was four times higher than at the southern cusp, a result that provides a possible explanation for the observed north-south asymmetry in exospheric sodium in the neutral tail.

  4. Mercury Continuous Emmission Monitor Calibration

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    John Schabron; Eric Kalberer; Ryan Boysen; William Schuster; Joseph Rovani

    2009-03-12

    Mercury continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMs) are being implemented in over 800 coal-fired power plant stacks throughput the U.S. Western Research Institute (WRI) is working closely with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate the development of the experimental criteria for a NIST traceability protocol for dynamic elemental mercury vapor calibrators/generators. These devices are used to calibrate mercury CEMs at power plant sites. The Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) which was published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2005 and vacated by a Federal appeals court in early 2008 required that calibration be performed with NIST-traceable standards. Despite the vacature, mercury emissions regulations in the future will require NIST traceable calibration standards, and EPA does not want to interrupt the effort towards developing NIST traceability protocols. The traceability procedures will be defined by EPA. An initial draft traceability protocol was issued by EPA in May 2007 for comment. In August 2007, EPA issued a conceptual interim traceability protocol for elemental mercury calibrators. The protocol is based on the actual analysis of the output of each calibration unit at several concentration levels ranging initially from about 2-40 {micro}g/m{sup 3} elemental mercury, and in the future down to 0.2 {micro}g/m{sup 3}, and this analysis will be directly traceable to analyses by NIST. The EPA traceability protocol document is divided into two separate sections. The first deals with the qualification of calibrator models by the vendors for use in mercury CEM calibration. The second describes the procedure that the vendors must use to certify the calibrators that meet the qualification specifications. The NIST traceable certification is performance based, traceable to analysis using isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma

  5. Mercury detection with thermal neutrons

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bell, Z.W.

    1994-01-01

    This report describes the work performed to design a gauge to detect mercury concealed within walls, floors, pipes, and equipment inside a building. The project arose out of a desire to decontaminate and decommission (D ampersand D) a building in which mercury had been used as part of a chemical process. The building contains plumbing and equipment, some with residual mercury even after draining, sumps, and hollow walls. So that releases of mercury to the environment might be minimized during D ampersand D activities, it was considered advisable to locate pockets of mercury that may have collected in concealed spaces so that they might be drained in a controlled fashion prior to the application of the wrecking ball or sledge hammer. The detection of such pockets within a building presents some problems not ordinarily encountered in a laboratory environment. Often, only a single side of a wall or pipe is accessible. This condition disqualifies transmission gauges (such as conventional x radiography) in which a probe is sent through the volume under test (VUT) from one side and its passage or attenuation is detected on the opposite side. A robust, one-sided system was needed

  6. Mercury bioaccumulation in the Mediterranean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cinnirella S.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available This study details mercury pollution within the food chain of the Mediterranean by analysing the most comprehensive mercury dataset available for biota and water measurements. In this study we computed a bioaccumulation factor (BAF for datasets in the existing mercury-related scientific literature, in on-going programs, and in past measurement campaigns. Preliminary results indicate a major lack of information, making the outcome of any assessment very uncertain. Importantly, not all marine eco-regions are (or have ever been covered by measurement campaigns. Most lacking is information associated with the South-Eastern part of the Mediterranean, and in several eco-regions it is still impossible to reconstruct a trophic net, as the required species were not accounted for when mercury measurements were taken. The datasets also have additional temporal sampling problems, as species were often not sampled systematically (but only sporadically during any given sampling period. Moreover, datasets composed of mercury concentrations in water also suffer from similar geographic limitations, as they are concentrated in the North-Western Mediterranean. Despite these concerns, we found a very clear bioaccumulation trend in 1999, the only year where comprehensive information on both methylmercury concentrations in water and biota was available.

  7. New Understanding of Mercury's Magnetosphere from MESSENGER'S First Flyby

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slavin, James A.; Acuna, Mario H.; Anderson, Brian J.; Baker, Daniel N.; Benna, Mehdi; Gloeckler, George; Gold, Robert E.; Ho, George C.; Killen, M.; Korth, Haje; hide

    2008-01-01

    Observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft on 14 January 2008 have revealed new features of the solar system's smallest planetary magnetosphere. The interplanetary magnetic field orientation was unfavorable for large inputs of energy from the solar wind and no evidence of magnetic substorms, internal magnetic reconnection, or energetic particle acceleration was detected. Large-scale rotations of the magnetic field were measured along the dusk flank of the magnetosphere and ultra-tow frequency waves were frequently observed beginning near closest approach. Outbound the spacecraft encountered two current-sheet boundaries across which the magnetic field intensity decreased in a step-like manner. The outer current sheet is the magnetopause boundary. The inner current sheet is similar in structure, but weaker and -1000 km closer to the planet. Between these two current sheets the magnetic field intensity is depressed by the diamagnetic effect of planetary ions created by the photo-ionization of Mercury's exosphere.

  8. Mineral resource of the month: mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    ,

    2012-01-01

    The article offers information on mercury, a mineral commodity used in industrial and small-scale gold mining applications. Mercury has been reported to be used for amalgamation with gold since the Roman times. Mercury from cinnabar from Almadén, Spain has been used by Romans and has been continued to be used through the Middle Ages and the Colonial era.

  9. 40 CFR 721.10068 - Elemental mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 30 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Elemental mercury. 721.10068 Section... Substances § 721.10068 Elemental mercury. (a) Definitions. The definitions in § 721.3 apply to this section... elemental mercury (CAS. No. 7439-97-6) is subject to reporting under this section for the significant new...

  10. [Extrasolar terrestrial planets and possibility of extraterrestrial life].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ida, Shigeru

    2003-12-01

    Recent development of research on extrasolar planets are reviewed. About 120 extrasolar Jupiter-mass planets have been discovered through the observation of Doppler shift in the light of their host stars that is caused by acceleration due to planet orbital motions. Although the extrasolar planets so far observed may be limited to gas giant planets and their orbits differ from those of giant planets in our Solar system (Jupiter and Saturn), the theoretically predicted probability of existence of extrasolar terrestrial planets that can have liquid water ocean on their surface is comparable to that of detectable gas giant planets. Based on the number of extrasolar gas giants detected so far, about 100 life-sustainable planets may exist within a range of 200 light years. Indirect observation of extrasolar terrestrial planets would be done with space telescopes within several years and direct one may be done within 20 years. The latter can detect biomarkers on these planets as well.

  11. Modelling Mercury's magnetosphere and plasma entry through the dayside magnetopause

    Science.gov (United States)

    Massetti, S.; Orsini, S.; Milillo, A.; Mura, A.

    2007-09-01

    Owing to the next space mission Messenger (NASA) and BepiColombo (ESA/JAXA), there is a renewed interest in modelling the Mercury's environment. The geometry of the Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as its response to the solar wind conditions, is one of the major issues. The weak magnetic field of the planet and the increasing weight of the IMF BX component at Mercury's orbit, introduce critical differences with respect to the Earth's case, such as a strong north-south asymmetry and a significant solar wind precipitation into the dayside magnetosphere even for non-negative IMF BZ. With the aim of analysing the interaction between the solar wind and Mercury's magnetosphere, we have developed an empirical-analytical magnetospheric model starting from the Toffoletto-Hill TH93 code. Our model has been tuned to reproduce the key features of the Mariner 10 magnetic data, and to mimic the magnetic field topology obtained by the self-consistent hybrid simulation developed by Kallio and Janhunen [Solar wind and magnetospheric ion impact on Mercury's magnetosphere. Geophys. Res. Lett. 30, 1877, doi: 10.1029/2003GL017842]. The new model has then been used to study the effect of the magnetic reconnection on the magnetosheath plasma entry through the open areas of the dayside magnetosphere (cusps), which are expected to be one of the main sources of charged particles circulating inside the magnetosphere. We show that, depending on the Alfvén speeds on both sides of the magnetopause discontinuity, the reconnection process would be able to accelerate solar wind protons up to few tens of keV: part of these ions can hit the surface and then trigger, via ion-sputtering, the refilling of the planetary exosphere. Finally, we show that non-adiabatic effects are expected to develop in the cusp regions as the energy gained by injected particles increases. The extent of these non-adiabatic regions is shown to be also modulated by upstream IMF condition.

  12. Searching for Terrain Softening near Mercury's North Pole

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cobian, P. S.; Vilas, F.; Lederer, S. M.; Barlow, N. G.

    2004-01-01

    In 1999, following the initial discovery of radar bright craters near both poles of Mercury measured the depth-todiameter (d/D) ratios of 170 impact craters in Mariner 10 images covering four different regions on Mercury s surface. Rapid softening of crater structure, indicated by lower d/D ratios, could indicate the possibility of subsurface water ice in Mercury's terrain originating from an internal source in the planet. Their study included 3 specific radar bright craters suggested to contain ice. They concluded that no terrain softening was apparent, and a rapidly emplaced exogenic water source was the most likely source for the proposed ice in these craters. Recent radar observations of the Mercurian North pole have pinpointed many additional radar bright areas with a resolution 10x better than previous radar measurements, and which correlate with craters imaged by Mariner 10. These craters are correlated with regions that are permanently shaded from direct sunlight, and are consistent with observations of clean water ice. We have expanded the initial study by Barlow et al. to include d/D measurements of 12 craters newly identified as radar bright at latitudes poleward of +80o. The radar reflectivity resemblances to Mars south polar cap and echoes from three icy Galilean satellites suggest that these craters too may have polar ice on Mercury. The effect of subsurface H20 on impact craters is a decrease in its d/D ratio, and softening of crater rims over a period of time. The study of Barlow et al., focused on determining the d/D ratios of 170 impact craters in the Borealis (north polar), Tolstoj (equatorial), Kuiper (equatorial), and Bach (south polar) quadrangles. This work focuses on the newly discovered radar bright craters, investigating their d/D ratios as an expansion of the earlier work..We compare our results to the statistical results from Barlow et al. here. With the upcoming Messenger spacecraft mission to Mercury, this is an especially timely study

  13. Long Term Evolution of Planetary Systems with a Terrestrial Planet and a Giant Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgakarakos, Nikolaos; Dobbs-Dixon, Ian; Way, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    We study the long term orbital evolution of a terrestrial planet under the gravitational perturbations of a giant planet. In particular, we are interested in situations where the two planets are in the same plane and are relatively close. We examine both possible configurations: the giant planet orbit being either outside or inside the orbit of the smaller planet. The perturbing potential is expanded to high orders and an analytical solution of the terrestrial planetary orbit is derived. The analytical estimates are then compared against results from the numerical integration of the full equations of motion and we find that the analytical solution works reasonably well. An interesting finding is that the new analytical estimates improve greatly the predictions for the timescales of the orbital evolution of the terrestrial planet compared to an octupole order expansion. Finally, we briefly discuss possible applications of the analytical estimates in astrophysical problems.

  14. Jupiter analogues and planets of active stars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Henning T.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Combined results are now available from a 15 year long search for Jupiter analogues around solar-type stars using the ESO CAT + CES, ESO 3.6 m + CES, and ESO 3.6 m + HARPS instruments. They comprise planet (co-discoveries (ι Hor and HR 506 and confirmations (three planets in HR 3259 as well as non-confirmations of planets (HR 4523 and ɛ Eri announced elsewhere. A long-term trend in ɛ Ind found by our survey is probably attributable to a Jovian planet with a period >30 yr, but we cannot fully exclude stellar activity effects as the cause. A 3.8 year periodic variation in HR 8323 can be attributed to stellar activity.

  15. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V1.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We present a data table giving basic physical and orbital parameters for known binary minor planets in the Solar System (and Pluto/Charon) based on published...

  16. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V6.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, as inspired by Richardson...

  17. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V4.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, as inspired by Richardson...

  18. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V5.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, as inspired by Richardson...

  19. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V8.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, compiled from the...

  20. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V9.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, compiled from the...

  1. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V7.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The data set lists orbital and physical properties for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets including the Pluto system, compiled from the...

  2. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V2.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We present data tables giving basic orbital and physical parameters for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets and the Pluto system, based on a...

  3. BINARY MINOR PLANETS V3.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We present data tables giving basic orbital and physical parameters for well-observed or suspected binary/multiple minor planets and the Pluto system, based on a...

  4. Astronomers find distant planet like Jupiter

    CERN Multimedia

    2003-01-01

    Astronomers searching for planetary systems like our solar system have found a planet similar to Jupiter orbiting a nearby star similar to our Sun, about 90 light-years from Earth, according to researchers (1/2 page).

  5. Probing Extragalactic Planets Using Quasar Microlensing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dai, Xinyu; Guerras, Eduardo

    2018-02-01

    Previously, planets have been detected only in the Milky Way galaxy. Here, we show that quasar microlensing provides a means to probe extragalactic planets in the lens galaxy, by studying the microlensing properties of emission close to the event horizon of the supermassive black hole of the background quasar, using the current generation telescopes. We show that a population of unbound planets between stars with masses ranging from Moon to Jupiter masses is needed to explain the frequent Fe Kα line energy shifts observed in the gravitationally lensed quasar RXJ 1131–1231 at a lens redshift of z = 0.295 or 3.8 billion lt-yr away. We constrain the planet mass-fraction to be larger than 0.0001 of the halo mass, which is equivalent to 2000 objects ranging from Moon to Jupiter mass per main-sequence star.

  6. Characterizing Cool Giant Planets in Reflected Light

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marley, Mark

    2016-01-01

    While the James Webb Space Telescope will detect and characterize extrasolar planets by transit and direct imaging, a new generation of telescopes will be required to detect and characterize extrasolar planets by reflected light imaging. NASA's WFIRST space telescope, now in development, will image dozens of cool giant planets at optical wavelengths and will obtain spectra for several of the best and brightest targets. This mission will pave the way for the detection and characterization of terrestrial planets by the planned LUVOIR or HabEx space telescopes. In my presentation I will discuss the challenges that arise in the interpretation of direct imaging data and present the results of our group's effort to develop methods for maximizing the science yield from these planned missions.

  7. Thermal escape from extrasolar giant planets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koskinen, Tommi T; Lavvas, Panayotis; Harris, Matthew J; Yelle, Roger V

    2014-04-28

    The detection of hot atomic hydrogen and heavy atoms and ions at high altitudes around close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) such as HD209458b implies that these planets have hot and rapidly escaping atmospheres that extend to several planetary radii. These characteristics, however, cannot be generalized to all close-in EGPs. The thermal escape mechanism and mass loss rate from EGPs depend on a complex interplay between photochemistry and radiative transfer driven by the stellar UV radiation. In this study, we explore how these processes change under different levels of irradiation on giant planets with different characteristics. We confirm that there are two distinct regimes of thermal escape from EGPs, and that the transition between these regimes is relatively sharp. Our results have implications for thermal mass loss rates from different EGPs that we discuss in the context of currently known planets and the detectability of their upper atmospheres.

  8. News from Front (of the Solar System): the problem with Mercury, the Vulcan hypothesis, and General Relativity's first astronomical triumph

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sheehan, William

    2016-01-01

    The discovery of the outer planet Neptune in 1846, based on the calculated position published by Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, has been hailed as the "zenith of Newtonian mechanics." An attempt by Le Verrier to further extend the dominion of Newton's gravitational theory to the innermost known planet of the Solar System, Mercury, seemingly came to grief with the discovery of a small unexplained discrepancy in the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, whose value was later calculated as 43".0 per century. Le Verrier proposed that it could be explained on the basis of Newtonian theory by assuming the existence of an intra-mercurial planet ("Vulcan") or ring of debris. Efforts to confirm this hypothesis, culminating in high drama on the plains of the western United States at the great North American solar eclipse of July 1878, proved futile; by 1908, W. W. Campbell and C.D. Perrine of Lick Observatory, who had carried out exhaustive photographic searches at three eclipses (1901, 1905, and 1908) could declare that Vulcan did not exist. The theoretical problem it was invoked to explain remained until November 1915, when Albert Einstein used the recently discovered generally covariant gravitational equations to put the problem to rest. "Perihelion motions explained quantitatively … you will be astonished," he wrote to his friend Michael Besso.

  9. Mercury's capture into the 3/2 spin-orbit resonance as a result of its chaotic dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Correia, Alexandre C M; Laskar, Jacques

    2004-06-24

    Mercury is locked into a 3/2 spin-orbit resonance where it rotates three times on its axis for every two orbits around the sun. The stability of this equilibrium state is well established, but our understanding of how this state initially arose remains unsatisfactory. Unless one uses an unrealistic tidal model with constant torques (which cannot account for the observed damping of the libration of the planet) the computed probability of capture into 3/2 resonance is very low (about 7 per cent). This led to the proposal that core-mantle friction may have increased the capture probability, but such a process requires very specific values of the core viscosity. Here we show that the chaotic evolution of Mercury's orbit can drive its eccentricity beyond 0.325 during the planet's history, which very efficiently leads to its capture into the 3/2 resonance. In our numerical integrations of 1,000 orbits of Mercury over 4 Gyr, capture into the 3/2 spin-orbit resonant state was the most probable final outcome of the planet's evolution, occurring 55.4 per cent of the time.

  10. ESTIMATING THE SIZE OF LATE VENEER IMPACTORS FROM IMPACT-INDUCED MIXING ON MERCURY

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rivera-Valentin, E. G.; Barr, A. C.

    2014-01-01

    Late accretion of a ''veneer'' of compositionally diverse planetesimals may introduce chemical heterogeneity in the mantles of the terrestrial planets. The size of the late veneer objects is an important control on the angular momenta, eccentricities, and inclinations of the terrestrial planets, but current estimates range from meter-scale bodies to objects with diameters of thousands of kilometers. We use a three-dimensional global Monte Carlo model of impact cratering, excavation, and ejecta blanket formation to show that evidence of mantle heterogeneity can be preserved within ejecta blankets of mantle-exhuming impacts on terrestrial planets. Compositionally distinct provinces implanted at the time of the late veneer are most likely to be preserved in bodies whose subsequent geodynamical evolution is limited. Mercury may have avoided intensive mixing by solid-state convection during much of its history. Its subsequent bombardment may have then excavated evidence of primordial mantle heterogeneity introduced by the late veneer. Simple geometric arguments can predict the amount of mantle material in the ejecta blanket of mantle-exhuming impacts, and deviations in composition relative to geometric predictions can constrain the length-scale of chemical heterogeneities in the subsurface. A marked change in the relationship between mantle and ejecta composition occurs when chemically distinct provinces are ∼250 km in diameter; thus, evidence of bombardment by thousand-kilometer-sized objects should be readily apparent from the variation in compositions of ejecta blankets in Mercury's ancient cratered terrains

  11. IBM Cloud Computing Powering a Smarter Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Jinzy; Fang, Xing; Guo, Zhe; Niu, Meng Hua; Cao, Fan; Yue, Shuang; Liu, Qin Yu

    With increasing need for intelligent systems supporting the world's businesses, Cloud Computing has emerged as a dominant trend to provide a dynamic infrastructure to make such intelligence possible. The article introduced how to build a smarter planet with cloud computing technology. First, it introduced why we need cloud, and the evolution of cloud technology. Secondly, it analyzed the value of cloud computing and how to apply cloud technology. Finally, it predicted the future of cloud in the smarter planet.

  12. The lonely life of a double planet

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pearson, Jerome

    1988-01-01

    The paper concerns extraterrestrial intelligence, and the requirements for a terrestrial planet and life. The effect of the Moon on the Earth, the presence of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans, the Earth's magnetic field, and the Earth's molten core, the distance between the sun and Earth where life is possible, and estimates of the number of habitable planets in the galaxies, are all discussed. (U.K.)

  13. Planets: Integrated Services for Digital Preservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam Farquhar

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available The Planets Project is developing services and technology to address core challenges in digital preservation. This article introduces the motivation for this work, describes the extensible technical architecture and places the Planets approach into the context of the Open Archival Information System (OAIS Reference Model. It also provides a scenario demonstrating Planets’ usefulness in solving real-life digital preservation problems and an overview of the project’s progress to date.

  14. Planets: Integrated Services for Digital Preservation

    OpenAIRE

    Farquhar, Adam; Hockx-Yu, Helen

    2007-01-01

    The Planets Project is developing services and technology to address core challenges in digital preservation. This article introduces the motivation for this work, describes the extensible technical architecture and places the Planets approach into the context of the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model. It also provides a scenario demonstrating Planets’ usefulness in solving real-life digital preservation problems and an overview of the project’s progress to date.

  15. UNIVERSAL GRAVITATION AND MAGNETISM OF THE PLANETS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E.V. Savich

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available The cores of the Solar System planets and the Sun are magnetized bodies, with the field of S-intensity, molten by the temperature of over million degrees. As similarly charged bodies, they interact with each other via repulsive forces that are considered, in the mechanism of gravitational attraction action, as resultant forces retaining the planets on the orbits at their inertial motion about the Sun.

  16. Optimizing the TESS Planet Finding Pipeline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chitamitara, Aerbwong; Smith, Jeffrey C.; Tenenbaum, Peter; TESS Science Processing Operations Center

    2017-10-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a new NASA planet finding all-sky survey that will observe stars within 200 light years and 10-100 times brighter than that of the highly successful Kepler mission. TESS is expected to detect ~1000 planets smaller than Neptune and dozens of Earth size planets. As in the Kepler mission, the Science Processing Operations Center (SPOC) processing pipeline at NASA Ames Research center is tasked with calibrating the raw pixel data, generating systematic error corrected light curves and then detecting and validating transit signals. The Transiting Planet Search (TPS) component of the pipeline must be modified and tuned for the new data characteristics in TESS. For example, due to each sector being viewed for as little as 28 days, the pipeline will be identifying transiting planets based on a minimum of two transit signals rather than three, as in the Kepler mission. This may result in a significantly higher false positive rate. The study presented here is to measure the detection efficiency of the TESS pipeline using simulated data. Transiting planets identified by TPS are compared to transiting planets from the simulated transit model using the measured epochs, periods, transit durations and the expected detection statistic of injected transit signals (expected MES). From the comparisons, the recovery and false positive rates of TPS is measured. Measurements of recovery in TPS are then used to adjust TPS configuration parameters to maximize the planet recovery rate and minimize false detections. The improvements in recovery rate between initial TPS conditions and after various adjustments will be presented and discussed.

  17. STABILITY OF THE OUTER PLANETS IN MULTIRESONANT CONFIGURATIONS WITH A SELF-GRAVITATING PLANETESIMAL DISK

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reyes-Ruiz, M.; Aceves, H. [Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Astronomía, Apdo.Postal 106, Ensenada, B.C. 22860 México (Mexico); Chavez, C. E., E-mail: maurey@astro.unam.mx [Facultad de Ingeniería Mecánica y Eléctrica, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Nuevo León, 66451, México (Mexico)

    2015-05-10

    We study the effect of a massive planetesimal disk on the dynamical stability of the outer planets in a system representing the early solar system assuming, as has been suggested recently, that these planets were initially locked in a compact and multiresonant configuration as a result of gas-driven migration in a protoplanetary disk. The planetesimal disk is represented by an ensemble of 2000 lunar mass bodies for which the gravitational interaction is calculated self-consistently using the Mercury6.5 code. Several initial multiresonant configurations and planetesimal disk models are considered. Under such conditions a strong dynamical instability, manifested as a rapid giant planet migration and planetesimal disk dispersal, develops on a timescale of less than 40 Myr in most cases. Dynamical disk heating due to the gravitational interactions among planetesimals leads to more frequent interactions between the planetesimals and the ice giants, in comparison to models in which planetesimal–planetesimal interactions are neglected. The number of particles used to represent the planetesimal disk has implications for our results, and although our studies represent the first self-consistent calculations of unstable planetesimal-driven migration, our results point toward the need for using more realistic treatments of the planetesimal disk. Finally, in the framework of our model, we discuss the possible implications of our results on the early evolution of the solar system.

  18. Control of mercury emissions: policies, technologies, and future trends

    OpenAIRE

    Rhee, Seung-Whee

    2015-01-01

    Seung-Whee Rhee Department of Environmental Engineering, Kyonggi University, Suwon, Republic of Korea Abstract: Owing to the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Global Mercury Partnership, policies and regulations on mercury management in advanced countries were intensified by a mercury phaseout program in the mercury control strategy. In developing countries, the legislative or regulatory frameworks on mercury emissions are not established specifically, but mercury management is designed...

  19. Canadian mercury inventories: the missing pieces

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hagreen, L.A.; Lourie, B.A. [Summerhill Group, Toronto, ON (Canada)

    2004-07-01

    Research was conducted to determine the significance of the deliberate use of mercury in products in Canada and the associated releases from these sources. Through a combination of literature review and new calculations, the reservoir, flux, and releases of mercury from eight product sources were calculated, and these results compared to historical Canadian inventories. Mercury contributions from the waste sector were also assessed and compared to total Canadian mercury releases and to mercury releases from coal-fired generating stations. Results suggest the use and release of mercury associated with its use in products is 4.5 times what previous inventories indicate. Including dental amalgam and sewage sludge, the total releases of mercury to all environmental compartments in Canada totals 20 tonnes per year. This accounts for less than one-half of the 44 tonnes per year of mercury released from mercury waste disposal each year in Canada. Waste mercury contributions from hazardous waste imports, unknown product sources, and incomplete information on the use of mercury in known products may account for this discrepancy. Waste-related mercury releases and transfers for disposal and recycling are 11 times greater than that of electricity generation in Canada. Results indicate that Canadian inventories have underestimated the significance of mercury use and release associated with products, calling into question the current priorities for mercury management. This paper was developed as part of a panel session at the International Joint Commission 'Mercury in the Ecosystem' workshop, February 26-27, 2003, Windsor, ON, Canada, as a complement to the information on Canadian Inventories presented by Luke Trip (Senes Consulting, Ottawa, ON, Canada).

  20. Survival of planets around shrinking stellar binaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muñoz, Diego J.; Lai, Dong

    2015-01-01

    The discovery of transiting circumbinary planets by the Kepler mission suggests that planets can form efficiently around binary stars. None of the stellar binaries currently known to host planets has a period shorter than 7 d, despite the large number of eclipsing binaries found in the Kepler target list with periods shorter than a few days. These compact binaries are believed to have evolved from wider orbits into their current configurations via the so-called Lidov–Kozai migration mechanism, in which gravitational perturbations from a distant tertiary companion induce large-amplitude eccentricity oscillations in the binary, followed by orbital decay and circularization due to tidal dissipation in the stars. Here we explore the orbital evolution of planets around binaries undergoing orbital decay by this mechanism. We show that planets may survive and become misaligned from their host binary, or may develop erratic behavior in eccentricity, resulting in their consumption by the stars or ejection from the system as the binary decays. Our results suggest that circumbinary planets around compact binaries could still exist, and we offer predictions as to what their orbital configurations should be like. PMID:26159412