NASA – A team of scientists studying rocks on the surface of Mercury with the help of Messenger spacecraft’s data has come to know that Mercury’s magnetic field was much stronger 4 billion years ago than it’s today. The findings of this study have been published in the prominent journal named ‘Science.’ This study focuses primarily on the power source of the magnetic field i.e. the liquid dynamo in the outer core of the planet.
On the basis of this study and the previous ones, NASA’s scientists have figured out that a magnetic field in Mercury has been existence ever since the Mariner 10 spacecraft of NASA detected it in 1970s.
The only confusion they have is whether this field was a short-term phenomenon or a long-term one. NASA’s spacecraft Messenger was sent to Mercury in 2011 with an objective to figure out answers to such questions. It was the first time when NASA took a step like this.
Even though, the Messenger crashed on Mercury last week; NASA managed to get the information that it had collected after spending four years at Mercury. The process of recovering the entire information is still going on.
As per the reports, right before the spacecraft crashed on Mercury surface due to the dearth of fuel, scientists managed to take it down to very low altitude level. The objective was to examine some of the features of this planet’s surface in a better way.
For most of the time during the last four years, the Messenger’s distance from Mercury’s surface was close to 120 miles or 200 kilometers. But during the last one month, the team of scientists handling its operations managed to bring down the distance between Messenger and Mercury surface to less than 10 miles or 15 kilometers.
Scientists hope to unearth a lot of important information from the row data that they have received from mercury’s surface.