Mercury’s position in our solar system makes this planet the innermost of all. Its name derives from the name of the messenger of the Roman gods. The planet has the shortest orbiting distance of all the planets, and it is situated at about 36 million miles away from the Sun.
The Earth, our planet, orbits the Sun from 93 million miles away, and an entire orbit is completed in 365 days and six hours. In addition to this, Mercury’s orbiting speed is much higher than the one of our planet (105.000 mph compared to 66.622 mph).
Since Mercury’s orbit is shorter, the length of a year on Mercury is shorter as well. Mercury needs a rotation of 88 days to complete its orbit; therefore, a year is more concise than three months. A day on Mercury is 58 Earth days, much longer than expected.
A day and a year on Mercury
The length of the days is caused by Sun’s overwhelming gravity. The length of the year depends on the orbiting distance that each planet has to accomplish. Therefore, the planets that are located closer to the Sun have a shorter year for two critical reasons. One of them is the shorter length of the orbit, while the other one is represented by the gravitational force. When situated closer to the Sun, the gravitational pull is higher, causing a faster speeding force around the Sun.
NASA has declared that knowing the speed at which planets orbit the Sun is essential for experiments conducted on other planets. When sending a spacecraft to analyze another planet, the scientists must know the exact position of that planet at any time.
In addition to that, it is essential to closely monitor any other objects that may interfere with the spacecraft’s path so that they do not collide. In order to schedule launches and landings, it is of the utmost importance to detect the movement of planets, including Mercury.