Mercury: The Ashtray of the Solar System?

6:56 minutes

Scientists have been puzzled by why the surface of Mercury reflects such a small amount of light. Reporting in Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers hypothesize that the planet could be covered in carbon left by passing comets. “That carbon acts like a stealth darkening agent…like an invisible paint,” says Peter Schultz, a planetary geologist and co-author on the study.

Segment Guests

Peter Schultz

Peter Schultz is a research professor of Earth, environment and planetary science and professor emeritus of geological sciences at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Meet the Producer

About Alexa Lim

Alexa Lim was a senior producer for Science Friday. Her favorite stories involve space, sound, and strange animal discoveries.