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, 185 (4146), 169-79

Mercury's Surface: Preliminary Description and Interpretation From Mariner 10 Pictures

Mercury's Surface: Preliminary Description and Interpretation From Mariner 10 Pictures

B C Murray et al. Science.

Abstract

The surface morphology and optical properties of Mercury resemble those of the moon in remarkable detail and record a very similar sequence of events. Chemical and mineralogical similarity of the outer layers of Mercury and the moon is implied; Mercury is probably a differentiated planet with a large iron-rich core. Differentiation is inferred to have occurred very early. No evidence of atmospheric modification of landforms has been found. Large-scale scarps and ridges unlike lunar or martian features may reflect a unique period of planetary compression near the end of heavy bombardment by small planetesimals.

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