During an 8,700 mph plunge onto Mercury’s surface, NASA’s Messenger reveals Mercury’s extremely old magnetic field, the administration reports on Sunday.
The National and Space Aeronautics Administration have managed to gather more insights related to the structure of the much-debated universe.
Further light was cast upon the enigmatic cosmos as NASA’s Messenger mission approached Mercury these past days.
According to the declaration released by the Administration, the planet has a magnetic field that appears to be a lot older than scientists expected it to be.
This discovery was made thanks to the latest information that the mission transmitted. Messenger plunged on Mercury’s surface on Sunday with an 8,700 mph velocity.
According to planetary scientist, Catherine Johnson, the magnetic signals registered on Mercury are so low that they can barely be detected and analyzed by NASA’s experts. Luckily, Messenger has made this possible through the close-analysis that it managed to make on the planet.
Data shows that the closest Planet to the Sun has a magnetic field that is older than the one on Earth. It appears to have been formed approximately 400 million years ago.
Johnson further explained that Mercury’s magnetic field might have been just as strong as the Earth’s, but now its intensity has significantly decreased.
Much like our beloved planet, Mercury is said to have formed its magnetic field on account of its liquid metal existing at its core.
Although the planet is very small, it continues to maintain its heat, thus generating a powerful magnetic field. Catherine Johnson further analyzed this subject in NASA’s Science journal, providing passionate people with revealing data and explanations.
Messenger, NASA’s mission on Mercury, has successfully accomplished its tasks in space. The spacecraft was launched in 2011 and has ever since contributed with useful information to the Administration’s database.
The recent research on Mercury’s surface was made possible because the mission got so close to the planet until it eventually plummeted on it.
While the discovery of Mercury’s light-density metal core has partially satisfied scientists’ thirst for knowledge, it has also raised many more questions in relation to the planet’s formation.
Researchers plan to deeply study the phenomenon of Mercury’s magnetic field formation and to determine whether the planet bears more resemblances to the Earth.
Image Source: National Geographic