We knew that Earth is the only tectonically active planet in our Solar System until yesterday.
NASA has just found evidence
that Mercury has similar geological activities beneath just like our planet – which includes developing fault lines and shifting crust pieces.
The MESSENGER spacecraft
has captured images while getting close to Mercury’s surface during orbiting around the planet for the last 18 months. The images suggest fault scarps or landforms that resemble stairs which were previously undetected. The scarps were small which made scientists believe that they may be geologically young.
With the evidence presented, scientists have concluded that Mercury is still contracting and our planet is the not only tectonically active one in our Solar System.
Lead Researcher and Smithsonian Senior Scientist at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, Tom Watters, said, "The young age of the small scarps means that Mercury joins Earth as a tectonically active planet, with new faults likely forming today as Mercury’s interior continues to cool and the planet contracts.”
The bad news is, Mercury planet is still inhabitable
despite its tectonic activity.
Additionally, Europa, Jupiter’s moon
, has also been detected of tectonic activity and may seem to be a better option for hosting life compared to Mercury.