Small, rocky Mercury orbits Sol at a mean distance of 0.387 AU. Mercury is similar in appearance to Luna and has a very thin atmosphere, consisting mostly of helium from the solar wind that has been trapped by its weak magnetic field. The mean surface temperature varies between +350°C and -170°C.
The largest of the several facilities at Mercury is an Exodynamics mining and fabrication operation producing solar panels. These are used to provide power for the production of kilogram quantities of antimatter per month at a factory in near solar orbit. The antihydrogen produced is used in rocket systems.
Also based on Mercury are a number of solar observatories, most of them automated outposts. Although they are engaged in basic research, the primary duty of these observatories is the forecasting of solar flares, a task of vital importance to those living or working in vacuum.
The future of Ad Astra