Mercury

We are interested in using a variety of approaches to characterize Mercury, one of the terrestrial planets, in order to further our understanding of the formation and evolution of planets like Earth.

Earth-based Observations

With Earth-based telescopes, it is possible to measure the spin state of Mercury and to probe the interior of the planet. We found that Mercury has a molten core. Links and illustrations related to our Science paper can be found here.

We used Earth-based observations over a period of 10 years to characterize the spin state of Mercury in great detail, which enabled a measurement of the size of the core. A paper summarizes our findings.

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MESSENGER Observations

We combined gravity information from MESSENGER with our spin state measurements to characterize the interior of Mercury.

We are also modeling the response of a planet to the influence of solar tides, and we find that one can place additional constraints on the nature of the interior by measuring the tidal amplitude.

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