For years, scientists have been confused about how Mercury formed. New research is shedding light on this mystery.

Mercury is one of the smallest planets in the solar system. A new study has shown that Earth and Venus may be to blame. Their migration from the Sun influenced the formation of Mercury.

Mercury is a very unusual planet. It is closest to the Sun, it had practically no and no atmosphere. Due to the strange orbit, a year on Mercury lasts 88 Earth days, and a day lasts 58 Earth days. Scientists are still not sure how it formed. The planet has a very small mass – only 0.055274 from the earth, and its radius is only 2,439.7 km.

All this has puzzled scientists for years and Mercury did not fit into numerous models of planetary accretion. Accretion is a process in which gas particles and solids of various sizes, left over from star formation, are slowly collected onto entire planets. The very fact of the existence of Mercury does not correspond to the most common models of planet formation.

In a previous study, cited by scientists in a new work, astronomers suggested that massive embryos (or even the nuclei of giant planets) formed in the interior of the Sun’s gaseous disk and then migrated outward. Perhaps it was this migration that changed the surface density profile of the terrestrial planet-forming material and created conditions favorable for the formation of planets like Mercury. In other words, the protoplanets, from which the Earth and Venus later appeared, took away so much material that very little remained and it was only enough for tiny Mercury.

Scientists at the Carnegie Institute for the Exploration of the Earth and the Planet and the French Laboratory of Astrophysics Bordeaux at the University of Bordeaux believe this model best describes how the planet closest to the sun came to be. “We support the scenario in which the progenitor nuclei of Earth and Venus originated close to the Sun and this changed the formation region of Mercury as they migrated to their present orbits.”