There is ice on Mercury: A new discovery Messenger spacecraft and NASA
Mercury has water, trapped at the bottom of the craters and dry parliamentarian of the sun. The source is comets, to the billions of years since the formation of the solar system have fallen where heat and light could not reach them.
Ice on Mercury? There is. They took the comets – or maybe just one, giant comet – and is kept safe in permanently dark craters at the poles.
The Messenger spacecraft to Mercury came after a trip extraordinarily long and complicated, with the assistance gravitational slingshot effect of three planets, used six times. In March, the small spacecraft was placed in orbit around the smallest planet in the solar system, which is named after the god of speed – And the messengers, such as the name of this robotic vehicle might make sense.
The objective of the Messenger is to unravel some of the secrets of this mysterious planet, very close to the sun. The side that is illuminated by our astro reaches 450° (that is, surprisingly, less of the corrosive and stuffy Venus), while the side in the dark descends up to 210°. Without an atmosphere, Mercury is little more than a rock cratered suspended above a gas furnace nuclear fusion. But this means that it is a simple place, of which we know everything? Of course not. Our “journey” Mercury has just begun, and the mysteries surrounding the planet are manifold. And now we discover something new: water.
That there was water, even in solid form, I suspected as much. The observations of the pole of the small celestial body made from our planet there had hinted. Our radio telescopes, in fact, seemed to indicate this, as well as the neutron spectrometer of the Messenger, which had already revealed the presence of hydrogen – an atom that Mercury could not be free, but had to be trapped in the water.
Now that the Messenger is in orbit, the first images revealed just the ice that was looking at the pole, in the depths of the craters where the heat of the sun can not reach, since there is no atmosphere capable of transferring where the heat radiation from the sun is not direct.
According to current theories, the ice has more or less the volume of water of Lake Michigan, and it is unknown whether it is the result of the deposit of billions of years of comet or a single celestial body. In any case, the current conformation, according to the data, does not appear to be so old. And where there’s ice, there are layers of “dirt” organic, dark and volatile, the basics of life that comets seem to always carry with them.
The probe will continue his hard work. And probably in the next few decades will be joined by other companions. As for the human exploration frankly doubt that people ever find the need to explore the small planet in the first person. Completely hostile to life, Mercury has the best chance to stay in his splendid isolation until the sun decides to swallow.