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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:16 PM

NASA: Closest Planet to Sun, Mercury, Harbors Ice

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) A NASA spacecraft has confirmed there's ice at Mercury's north pole.

Scientists announced Thursday that the orbiting probe, Messenger, has found evidence of frozen water, even though Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. The ice is located in the permanently shadowed region of Mercury's north pole. It's thought to be at least one-and-a-half feet deep and possibly as much as 65 feet deep.

Scientists say it's likely Mercury's south pole also has ice, though there are no data to support it. Messenger orbits much closer to the north pole than the south.

Radar measurements, for years, have suggested the presence of ice. Now scientists know for a fact.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/11/29/science/ap-us-sci-mercury.html

5 replies, 1016 views

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Reply NASA: Closest Planet to Sun, Mercury, Harbors Ice (Original post)
n2doc Nov 2012 OP
darkangel218 Nov 2012 #1
IDoMath Nov 2012 #2
Posteritatis Dec 2012 #5
morningfog Nov 2012 #3
pokerfan Dec 2012 #4

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:23 PM

1. Interesting info.

I'm still waiting for the " big " announcement regarding Mars; I think its due in a few days if I'm not mistaking? I hope is good

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Response to darkangel218 (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 03:31 PM

2. No, several weeks out.

 

The last I heard was "several weeks" to confirm the data.

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Response to IDoMath (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 03:51 PM

5. Dec. 3-7 - they're announcing at a conference running those dates. (nt)

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:56 PM

3. Amazing.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:59 PM

4. Today's APOD



Explanation: Innermost planet Mercury would probably not be a good location for an interplanetary winter olympics. But new results based on data from the Mercury orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft indicate that it does have substantial water ice in permanently shadowed regions within craters near its north pole. The possibility of ice on Mercury has been entertained for years, inspired by the discovery of radar bright, hence highly reflective, regions near the north pole. Highlighted in yellow in this map based on projected MESSENGER images, radar bright regions are seen to correspond with floors and walls of north polar impact craters. Farther from the pole the regions are concentrated on the north facing crater walls. MESSENGER's neutron spectroscopy and thermal models for the craters indicate material in these regions has a hydrogen content consistent with nearly pure water ice and is trapped in an area with temperatures that remain below 100 kelvins (-280 deg.F, -173 deg.C). In circumstances similar to permanent shadows in craters of the Moon, debris from comet impacts is thought to be the source of ice on Mercury.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap121201.html

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