Mercury has borne the brunt of assaults by thousands of meteorites & asteroids,resulting in vast craters on it's surface.It also has steep round cliffs which are not found on any other planet.Sixty% of it's land is smooth like the moon.It is only slightly larger than our Moon.
One very interesting fact about Mercury is that while it whizzes past Sun at a speed of 172,000 kmh(the fastest speed in our solar system),taking 88 earth days to complete one year;it rotates very slowly,taking almost 59 earth days to constitute the daytime and an equal time span to make up the night.Add to this the fact that it has a negligible atmosphere to trap the surface heat & the consequence is that the part which faces the Sun heats up to 840*F & when the night comes it drops to -290*F.Playing hot and cold if you like!Another chimerical feature of this planet is that even in day time it's sky will be pitch black except for the luminous bodies when visible.One more bouncer from the same source-it tracks an elliptical orbit because of which if you were to stand on it's surface you would see the Sun changing sizes.It is a different matter that you would first roast to vapor or be frozen to an icicle,depending if it was day or night!The latest discovery by NASA suggests that it's North Pole has deposits of ice & water.Well!Surprises never cease in Astronomy!
Although nearest to Sun,it is not the hottest planet of our family.Which one is that?Surprise!Wait for the answer!
Text courtesy Robin Kerrod
Image courtesy gstatic.com