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A solid metallic core nearly as large as Earth's might be lurking deep within the solar system's smallest planet.
That's according to new research based on data gathered by NASA's Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission. That spacecraft spent four years circling the tiny planet before intentionally crashing on Mercury's surface. Now, scientists have used data from near the end of the probe's mission to peer deeper than ever into the planet.
Bit - Information - System - Universe - Antonio
"Every new bit of information about our solar system helps us understand the larger universe," Antonio Genova, lead author on the new research and an assistant professor at Sapienza University of Rome, said in a statement.
As the MESSENGER spacecraft orbited the tiny planet, the probe pinpointed the poles that Mercury rotates around. One of the instruments aboard also carefully measured small variations in local gravity.
Variations - Spacecraft - Hair - Result - Patches
Those variations cause a spacecraft to speed up or slow down, just a hair, and are the result of patches of the planet that are more...
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