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What is Mercury's atmosphere made of?

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Quick Answer

Mercury's atmosphere is primarily made up of oxygen, potassium, sodium, helium and hydrogen. The atmosphere on Mercury is made up of atoms that are launched from the planet's surface from micrometeoroid impacts and solar wind. The atmosphere or exosphere on Mercury is very thin, which means the planet receives large amounts of heat from the sun, making daytime hours very hot.

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Full Answer

Because the atmosphere on Mercury is thin, it does not retain heat well, which results in temperatures dropping as low as -290 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Temperatures can reach as high as 800 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, making it impossible for any life to survive on the planet. Mercury orbits around the sun every 88 days and makes a complete rotation on its axis in a period of time that is equal to 59 Earth days.

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