Planet Mercury. Photo Courtesy of NASA.

Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system, and is the closest to the sun. Mercury is just a bit larger than Earth’s moon. Even though it is the closest to the sun, this is not the hottest planet. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get hot or cold. Because there isn’t an atmosphere to retain or deflect solar heat, temperatures on the planet can reach up to 430°C (800°F)! On the cold side, temperatures can drop to -180°C (-290°F)! No blanket can help keep us warm, and sunscreen won’t be much help either. Mercury is one of the rocky planets, just like Earth, and does have polar caps as well, but only where sunlight never hits. Because of the lack of an atmosphere, and the extreme temperature changes in a day, no life form is expected to survive on this planet.

For more information, and an interactive map of Mercury, you can visit: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury/in-depth/