Solar System Tour – Mercury

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Back in the 70’s Ben Bova (then the editor of Analog magazine) along with Trudy Bell, produced a wonderfully illustrated book caled Close Up: New Worlds that billed itself as “astounding modern views of the solar system”.

Well, that was 1977.  To date it is to note that it includes Pluto among the planets.

I used that book as a resource while designing SF strategy board games.  It was a great compendium of both known fact and SF speculation.

NASA and other space agencies have taken a lot more pictures since then with Hubble, other space telescopes and a huge variety of probes either taking up orbits or doing fly-bys.

Lets just say it’s been a while since anyone has taken a grand tour the way that Ben and Trudy did back in ’77.  So we’re going to reprise that book using the latest and greatest.


Mercury lies at a distance from the sun of some 43 million miles
It is approximately 3,032 miles in diameter, about 2.6 times smaller than Earth
It takes 88 days to orbit the Sun
Mercury has no axial tilt (Earth’s is 23 degrees)
The surface temperature on Mercury ranges from -230 degrees (night) to 800 degrees (day) (Fahrenheit)
It’s escape velocity is 9,507 miles per hour
Its surface gravity is 12.13 feet/second squared

Mercury is considered to be a Terrestrial, or rocky, planet.

This year, Mercury will be visible in the night sky between February 18th and March 5th, and in the morning sky from March 23rd to May 7th.

NASA has a wonderful planetary information resource.  You can learn far more about Mercury here

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