Lesson Plan - Get It!
How hot or cold does it get where you live? If you think it gets too cold or hot, wait until you visit the planet Mercury!
As the closest planet to the sun, Mercury is one hot place!
The average temperature is 801 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and -279 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. YIKES! That is a 1,000 degree difference!
Mercury is an interesting planet because it is different from Earth. One major difference is that it is MUCH hotter during the day and MUCH colder at night. Humans could not live on Mercury for many reasons.
Learning about the differences between Mercury and Earth will help you understand the first planet in the solar system. Here is a picture that compares the two planets side-by-side for size:
Mercury is the first planet in a series of eight in the Milky Way solar system. There are big differences between Mercury and Earth:
- Mercury is about 2/5 the size of Earth.
- Mercury's temperature is eight times the temperature of Earth but it is not the hottest planet!
- One day on Mercury is 58 Earth days.
- One year on Mercury is 88 Earth days.
- Mercury has no moons and Earth has one.
- There is no weather on Mercury.
- You can jump three times as high on Mercury than on Earth because of the lack of gravity.
- Mercury is about the same size as the Earth's moon.
Wow! Mercury is very far from Earth and although, as of 2017, it has been observed by two spacecraft, we don't know a lot about the planet. It is so close to the sun that it is very difficult to get close to it and observe it. Here are some more interesting facts about Mercury:
- Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system.
- Mercury is made of rock and heavy metals.
- Mercury is the most cratered planet because it has been hit by many asteroids and comets and it does not repair itself.
- Mercury is named for the Roman messenger to the gods.
- If you were to stand on Mercury during the day, the sky would look black, not blue like on Earth.
- Mercury has wrinkles! It is so old, it has wrinkles, just like a pug puppy!
No, really, it's because the iron core of the planet cooled and contracted and created large wrinkles on the surface. These wrinkles are called Lobate Scarps and they can be as big as a mile high and hundreds of miles long.
It's time for a little compare and contrast! In the Got It? section, you will create a Venn Diagram of the similarities and the differences between Mercury and Earth.