Minerva is named after the Roman goddess of war strategy, wisdom, and crafts.
Minerva is a rocky terrestrial planet with characteristics similar to those of the other nearby planets. It is mostly made up of silicon-based compounds, although various compounds based on various metals are also present in lesser quantities. Water ice has also been detected in varied quantities, the most being present in the north pole.
The possibility of Minerva's atmosphere was first proposed in the 1830s, when astronomers noticed distortion around the planet when it was blocking the view of a star.
The atmosphere was confirmed in 1978, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft performed a flyby of the planet on its way to the Outer System. The atmosphere is composed primarily of Oxygen with trace amounts of Carbon Dioxide.
Minerva's surface is mainly smooth lava plains similar to the Lunar Mare. The exact reason behind this is currently not confirmed, but it is believed that several large impact events late in Minerva's formation resulted in their creation.
During its flyby Voyager I detected a small magnetosphere being generated by the planet. It is believed that a small semi-liquid metallic core is responsible.
Minerva is not known to have any natural satellites of its own. However, the Galileo spacecraft detected several orbital anomilies around Minerva while on its way to Jupiter. Whether that is because of any undetected moons or a small ring system is unknown.
The first mission to Minerva was the Voyager I probe, which performed a flyby in 1978.
The next flyby was by Galileo, which was on its way to observe the Jupiter system.