(Image: The James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield outstretched. Credit: NASA / Northrop Grumman)

Of all the worlds humanity world humanity has yet to conquer, Mercury will probably be one of the toughest to conquer.

With surface temperatures reaching as high as 427 degrees Celsius (or about 800 degrees Fahrenheit), the future of any Mercury outpost looks to be either underground and/or nocturnal (which would probably make this planet an attractive place for penal colonies).

Since living underground (or even inside an outpost) may not attract the masses towards the planet, scientists may need to “revamp” solar shades from space telescopes in order to allow residents to explore the world during the Mercurian day (which is about 29 Earth days long).

(ESA Space Science) Imagine sunglasses that can withstand the severe cold and heat of space, a barrage of radiation and high-speed impacts from small space debris. They don’t exist, but the sunshield for the James Webb Space Telescope, JWST, has been designed for just that. […]

Any satellite that flies in the depths of space has to be able to withstand the rigors of space, from the icy cold to the intense heat and radiation of a solar flare. Temperatures in space can range from a hot 400 K (127°C) to a frigid 30 K (-243°C). In addition, the telescope’s sunshield will be bombarded with tiny meteorites (sand-like grains) and radiation in space, so it has to be tough. It has to stand up against those things, as well as tension and aging under the extreme space environments.

Hopefully scientists can find a way to adapt this technology for “space windows” and helmet visors, as it will will enable colonists to view and roam the surface of Mercury without being blinded by the suns rays.

Even though Mercury may not be as colorful or attractive as some of the other worlds in our star system, the first rock from the sun may could easily replace Mars as humanities “next step” (after the Moon) due to the amount of potential resources that may be located there.

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