The solar system is composed of 8 planets and some of these are referred to as terrestrial planets. With that, when you were learning about the Solar System and its planets, did you ever wonder what type of planet Mercury is and the others? Have you ever wondered or asked ‘is mercury a terrestrial planet?’ Well, if you did, here is the answer to that question of yours. But before that, you should know first what a terrestrial planet is. That way, you will have a better understanding of the answer to ‘is mercury a terrestrial planet?’
What is a Terrestrial Planet?
A terrestrial planet is also referred to as a rocky or telluric planet. To be referred to as a terrestrial planet, it must be primarily composed of metals or silicate rocks. The term is derived from the words Terra and Tellus, which are Latin words that mean Earth-Like. In the Solar System, the ones considered as terrestrial planets are those that are near the Sun.
These terrestrial planets are sharing several common features. The planets are mainly composed of heavy metals and rocks. Its core is also composed of heavy metals which are mostly iron. And, its core is enclosed in a mantle composed of silicate rock. As a characteristic of these planets, it is smaller than those gas giants. The planet also has various terrains including mountains, craters, volcanoes and canyons. The planet also has no moons or only a few.
The Solar System and Its Terrestrial Planets
In the Solar System, the ones that are included as terrestrial planets are Mercury, Mars, Earth and Venus. With that said, the question ‘is mercury a terrestrial planet’ is now answered. Although the moon is stated to have some of the characteristics of a terrestrial planet, it is not considered as one. These planets are different from outer planets and gas giants in several ways.
Mercury as a Terrestrial Planet
As a terrestrial planet, Mercury is characterized with its very thin atmosphere. It is the reason why the planet is alternately changing from freezing and burning temperatures. The temperature varies between 100K to nearly 700K. Apart from being a terrestrial planet, it is also described as a dense planet and the smallest planet within the Solar System. It is mainly composed of nickel and iron. The surface of Mercury is heavily cratered and is even similar to the Moon in a few ways. It is also very dark in Mercury since only a small amount of sunlight is reflected into its surface.
Its size is less than Earth. Its core is composed of iron, and is very large. Hence, it almost takes up most of its interior core. It is due to this reason that Mercury has a very strong magnetic field considering its size. It does not have a moon.
These are some of the things that make Mercury a Terrestrial planet. If you want to know more about Mercury and its similarities to Earth, you will find more of it through research. Enjoy that period and learn more!