Mercury bears very similar characteristics to the Moon at first glance.  It has no effective atmosphere, it is rocky and it is of similar size.  It's location however - close to the Sun - means it is bathed in radiation and is "tidally locked" so that the same face always points towards the Sun.  This means that the face towards the Sun is baked at temperatures close to four times boiling point, while the face in shadow is close to the cold of space - towards absolute zero.  The cratered surface of Mercury reveals that little activity has taken place - chemical, geological or atmospheric - for billions of years.  Mercury is all but inert.  There is and never was any possibility of life starting on Mercury, but life could have been transported there by interstellar debris - comets etc.  Survival would be tenuous and even if life survived somehow, it is would almost certainly be in a stasis condition, through cold or lack of accessible nutrients.

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