American, Finnish and Russian planetary scientists have teamed up to study the landscape of Mercury. As a result of the study, they received new valuable information about the first planet of the solar system. Among other things, it turned out that its landscape is more different from the lunar than previously thought.
According to the Iсarus edition, in the course of a new study, scientists were able to analyze the factors on which the number of boulders on Mercury depends.
Boulders are large fragments of rocks that appeared as a result of the asteroid bombardment of Mercury. As a rule, boulders are concentrated around craters, the diameter of which exceeds hundreds of meters. At the same time, it is very difficult to determine the exact age of the boulders. And yet, scientists are sure that their age is relatively small.
To confirm their hypothesis, scientists studied images of the surface of the first planet, taken in 2015 by the automatic interplanetary vehicle Messenger. In three thousand images, planetary scientists found only one and a half dozen boulders up to five meters in size – smaller objects turned out to be indistinguishable. The scientists then carefully studied the photographs of the lunar surface. As you know, the natural satellite of the Earth in many ways resembles Mercury in its surface.
Like the Moon, Mercury does not have a dense atmosphere, is located relatively close to the Sun and makes slow revolutions around its axis, which has a very small tilt. Therefore, due to the relatively large similarity, it is believed that the colonization of Mercury can be carried out mainly using the same technologies, approaches and equipment as the colonization of the Moon.
However, in the course of a new study, scientists compared photographs from the Moon and Mercury and determined that boulders on the planet closest to the Sun are thirty times less common than on the Moon. Of course, this is a conditional number, but it is safe to say that boulders on the Moon are much more common than on Mercury. What is the reason for this difference? Firstly, by the micrometeorite stream, which plays a significant role in the formation of the surface of Mercury. Microparticles from space literally grind down boulders, hitting them. Secondly, there are fewer boulders on Mercury due to the thicker regolith layer.