LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mercury. Cutaway illustration showing the interior structure of the planet Mercury. The large central core consists of iron, and accounts for about 75% of the planet's diameter. Surrounding this is a rocky mantle and then a thin crust of sun-baked rock. Mercury is the second smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. A day on Mercury lasts almost twice as long as a mercurian year: sunrise to sunrise takes 156 Earth days while the planet takes only 88 Earth days to orbit the Sun.
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