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Wake Up Before Dawn This Month to Check Out the Naked-Eye Planets With Your Morning Coffee

Do you love stargazing? Do you also love sleep? Well, one of those loves is gonna have to go - at least for one morning this month. For the next thirty days, you'll have a chance to see all five planets visible to the naked eye all lined up in a row for the first time in ten years.

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There’s A Contest To Name A Crater On Mercury After Someone; We Believe Only One Name Will Do

NASA is asking you, dear readers, to help them name five craters on the surface of Mercury - and they want you to name them after awesome people, too.

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MESSENGER Snaps Highest-Resolution Images of Mercury’s Surface Ever

Some planets look better at a distance.

The MESSENGER spacecraft took an upclose look at the surface of Mercury yesterday and captured the highest-resolution images of the planet to date.

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Two-Legged T-Rex Kitten Proves The Only Thing That’s Extinct Is Despair

Don't move. It can't see you if you don't move.

Mercury is an adorable tabby kitten whose front legs were tragically removed in a weed whacker accident, because humans are horrible monsters. Thankfully, a loving family in Oklahoma redeemed the rest of us by fostering the four day old kitty, who gets around fine with just his hind legs. But he something. You're all thinking it.

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Holy Cow, Stop Everything: Han Solo’s Carbonite-Frozen Body Has Been Found On Mercury

We'd know that laser brain anywhere!

NASA's Mercury probe took a heckuva lot of pictures back in 2011, and scientists have been sifting through them ever since. Last week they released a new image of the planet's surface and... yeah, you nerf herders need to see this. It definitely looks familiar.

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Tonight At Sunset Pause Arrested Development And Look At Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury Together

You can see Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter together tonight, that is if you can pull yourself away from Netflix for five minutes.

I get it. It's Memorial Day weekend. You have 15 episodes of Arrested Development to get through before returning to work, but tonight take a minute to look to the Western sky and see Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus huddled together. It's not something you get to see every day, and in fact it's pretty rare.

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Coming Soon to a Southern Hemisphere Near You: Best View of Mercury in 2013

Mercury was that speedy, virile, caduceus-wielding Roman god who ran about doing all the foot work for the bigger gods. It's fitting, then, that the littlest planet in our Solar System -- that zips around the Sun closer than any other -- is named after him, too. Its orbit is only 88 days, and this week, Mercury will streak through our dusk and dawn skies in its greatest elongation of 2013. Us folks in the Northern Hemisphere can see it at dawn if we know where to look, but folks in the Southern Hemisphere will have an even better show.

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Mercury May Have Once Had An Awesome Ocean Of Magma, Says New Study

A new analysis of the surface of Mercury has revealed that the planet closest to the Sun was once totally badass. The results of a study by researchers at MIT suggest that at one point, some billions of years ago, the planet hosted a rolling ocean of flowing magma.

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Hey, Everyone! NASA Found Water On M…ercury

I Want to Believe

Look, last week NASA got everyone excited when they said they might have found something "earthshaking" on Mars. Then they gave a press conference and told us they found ice...on Mercury. I hereby direct NASA to the above comic strip for all future announcements. (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal via The Hight Definite) Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

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NASA to Hold Press Conference on Mercury Today at 2PM, Disappointing Everyone [Updated]

Since NASA's tease last week about "historic" new findings on Mars, the world's been anxiously awaiting details about what the Curiosity's been up to on the red planet. That's why the news that NASA will be holding a 2PM press conference today has everyone in a tizzy. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be as today's press conference is not about Mars, but will reveal new findings from the MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury. Don't take it personally, Mercury. You're interesting too; we just really want to hear what they found on Mars.

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Tycho Brahe Was Not Poisoned, Had A Brass Nose, Say Researchers Who Dug Up His Corpse

Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have put to bed once and for all the rumors of Tycho Brahe's murder by mercury poisoning that have swirled for more than four hundred years, and all it took was exhuming the long interred corpse of the Danish astronomer from it's rightful resting place. Researchers have also found that Brahe's prosthetic nose, rumored to be cast from gold or silver, was actually made of brass, presumably solving this last mystery because, hey, if you've already got the guy dug up and all, why not, right?

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NASA Spacecraft Finds More Evidence for Water-Ice on Mercury

Though Mercury is generally thought of as an inhospitable, flaming ball of rock due to its close distance to the Sun, its poles are permanently cast in shadow. In the past, work has shown that areas near Mercury's poles reflect radar, which is something ice does. Now, it turns out, the Messenger probe has found that the radar patches near the shadowy poles actually line up with craters that are covered in shadow, which would make a perfect home for water-ice.

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New Information from Mercury Probe Blows Scientists' Minds

When NASA launched the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging satellite (or MESSENGER, demonstrating some truly hamfisted government acronym crafting) in 2004, Mercury has a pretty low profile in planetary science. For years, the innermost planet was assumed to have a quiet, boring life and was thought to be similar to our own moon. But after a mere six months in orbit around the planet, MESSENGER has produced enough information for a whopping seven papers published in the magazine Science that soundly dash those hum-drum expectations. With this new information, the MESSENGER probe is forcing planetary scientists to reassess their assumptions about the planet's volcanic history, geological processes, magnetic field, and overall composition. The principal investigator behind the project Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institute for Science, described it thusly: "In the history of exploration of our planetary system, the first spacecraft to orbit a planet has always yielded stunning surprises, and MESSENGER has been true to that pattern."

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50 Years Ago, America Put its First Man in Space [Video]

This was the scene on May 5, 1961, when Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to travel into space. Though his first flight was a brief 15minutes and suborbital, it was the beginning of a long and storied career for Shepard. He would go on command the Apollo 14 mission making him the fifth man to walk on the moon and the first and only to play golf on another planet. NASA is commemorating Shepard's first flight with a postage stamp, and has an interactive site up now with details about the mission that began America's history as a space faring nation.

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First Image of Mercury from Orbit

Earlier this month, NASA's MESSENGER probe became the first manmade object to enter Mecury's orbit, and yesterday it made another historic first: It captured the first-ever image of Mercury taken from space. NASA explains:

The dominant rayed crater in the upper portion of the image is Debussy. The smaller crater Matabei with its unusual dark rays is visible to the west of Debussy. The bottom portion of this image is near Mercury's south pole and includes a region of Mercury's surface not previously seen by spacecraft. Compare this image to the planned image footprint to see the region of newly imaged terrain, south of Debussy.
MESSENGER is planned to take more than 75,000 more images of Mercury over the coming year. Click through for a larger image:

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NASA’s MESSENGER Probe Enters Orbit Around Mercury

NASA's MESSENGER (believe it or not, it stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) probe entered orbit around Mercury last night, making it the first manmade object to ever do so. Now in orbit, MESSENGER will be observed for several days to see how the craft performs in the harsh environment so close to the sun. Onboard scientific instruments will be activated on March 23, with the scientific mission beginning on April 4. The journey has not been an easy one. Mercury travels at about 106,000 mph, which is much faster than Earth. Just to catch up with the planet, the probe had to gain 65,000 mph. In order to achieve such a feat, NASA mission planners plotted a roundabout course around Venus and Mercury, using the planets' gravity to speed up the craft. The final flight plan covered 5 billion miles, and 15 loops around the sun. Not much is known about the innermost planet of our solar system, which has been visited only once in 1974 by Mariner 10. Scientists are hoping MESSENGER will give them a greater understanding of Mercury's composition, and its curiously strong magnetic field. Though it has just entered orbit, MESSENGER made some surprising discoveries during a 2008 encounter with the planet: Large amounts of water in the planet's exosphere. Now that the craft is in place, the real work can begin. Given what MESSENGER has discovered already, it's shaping up to be an exciting mission. And, of course, you can follow mission updates through the MESSENGER Twitter. (via NASA, NASA Science, image via NASA)

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Man Who Ate 10 Cans of Tuna a Week for 2 Years Sues Bumble Bee for Mercury Poisoning

Lee Porrazzo, a man from White Plains, New York who says that he ate 10 cans of tuna a week for two years, is suing tuna canning company Bumble Bee after he was diagnosed with mercury poisoning. Porrazzo ate all that tuna for the protein, and he says he was misled by Bumble Bee commercials advertising their tuna as "heart healthy." NY Post:

No one could figure out what was ailing Porrazzo until his doctor ordered a "heavy metals" blood test in October 2008 that revealed a "dangerously high" mercury level of 23 micrograms per liter, more than twice the normal amount, his suit says. "One day I got a call from the [state] Health Department," he said. "They said, 'Normally we don't contact people, but your levels are so high we had to contact you.' I was taken aback and I was scared." The Health Department staffer also told him to stop eating tuna.
According to the FDA, you can safely eat about 12 ounces of tuna per week; a can of Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna contains 5 ounces of tuna, so Porrazzo was consuming more than four times the safe amount every week for two years. (NY Post via Consumerist)

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