History of the Universe

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Mercury is nearer to the Sun than any other planet, so it is the hottest. It is also the smallest of the inner planets. Being small and near the Sun, Mercury is very hard to see with a telescope

Satellites show that its surface is mostly heavily cratered. The major feature is a huge impact crater with a diameter of 1,300 kilometers - a quarter of the diameter of the planet. There is also evidence of some long extinct volcanoes.

Because it is so hot and small, Mercury could not keep any of the gases released by the volcanoes and now lies naked beneath the baking rays of the nearby Sun.

It probably has a large iron core taking up most of the inside and creating a weak magnetic field.

Image of Mercury by NASA/JPL

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