Report

The Major-Element Composition of Mercury’s Surface from MESSENGER X-ray Spectrometry

Science  30 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6051, pp. 1847-1850
DOI: 10.1126/science.1211567

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Abstract

X-ray fluorescence spectra obtained by the MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury indicate that the planet’s surface differs in composition from those of other terrestrial planets. Relatively high Mg/Si and low Al/Si and Ca/Si ratios rule out a lunarlike feldspar-rich crust. The sulfur abundance is at least 10 times higher than that of the silicate portion of Earth or the Moon, and this observation, together with a low surface Fe abundance, supports the view that Mercury formed from highly reduced precursor materials, perhaps akin to enstatite chondrite meteorites or anhydrous cometary dust particles. Low Fe and Ti abundances do not support the proposal that opaque oxides of these elements contribute substantially to Mercury’s low and variable surface reflectance.

View Full Text

Cited By...