The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Top section of the marker
This tiny sphere is the planet Mercury at one 10-billionth actual size.
If Mercury were this big, how far away would the sun and other planets be? Look at the map on the lower panel to find your position in the solar system.
Bottom section of the marker
Voyage to Mercury
The Smallest planet and the closest to the Sun, Mercury is a world of extremes. Dawn brings 3 months of continuous sunshine, scorching the equator with temperatures soaring to 840°F (450°C)--as hot as glowing coals. Sunset brings 3 months of frigid darkness. Temperatures plummet to -290°F (-180°C), far colder than anywhere on Earth.
A Dead World
Mercury has no active volcanoes, no mountains pushing upward, no perceptible atmosphere, no life. Craters cover the surface. Most are scars from the dawn of the solar system, when asteroids and comets pounded the planet. Now, all is still and silent.
An Airless World
Mercury has no air to scatter sunlight and color its sky. Even in daylight if you face away from the blazing Sun, the sky appears black and dotted with stars. Sometimes visible among them are a blue speck and its tiny companion--Earth and its Moon.
Walk to Venus about 8
The Sun moves so slowly across Mercury's sky that if you leisurely walked forever westward you would never see it set.
Walk to Sun about 9 steps
Voyage is an exhibition of the National Center for Earth and Science Education and the Smithsonian Institution. It is designed for permanent installation in communities worldwide.
Erected 2013 by Smithsonian Institution.
Location. 38° 53.323′ N, 77° 1.118′ W. Marker is in The National Mall, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Jefferson Drive Southwest when traveling east. Touch for map. On the grounds of the National Air and Space Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20565, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sun (here, next to this marker); Venus (here, next to this marker); Earth (here, next to this marker); Voyage (a few steps from this marker); Mars (a few steps from this marker); Asteroids and Comets Jupiter (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Star Nurseries (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
Categories. • Air & Space •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 3, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 24, 2017, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 36 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 24, 2017, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.