Scientists Say Planet Mercury was 'painted Black'

As planets go, Mercury doesn't get a lot of love. People spend more time on Google searching for Queen singer Freddy Mercury than planet Mercury ... and Freddie's been gone for nearly a quarter-century. But one question has long perplexed scientists: Why's the darned thing so dark? Compared with our own moon, which is about the same size, Mercury reflects much less light. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Brown University and the Planetary Sciences Institute say they may have found the answer: It's been "effectively painted black," in the words of Megan Bruck Syal, a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore.