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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:42 PM

Water On Mercury: NASA Announces Discovery Of Ice At Planet's Poles

Source: Huffington Post

NASA announced Thursday that its Messenger probe has discovered new evidence of water ice on Mercury.

In the announcement, Sean Solomon, principal investigator for the Mercury Messenger program, said the probe had uncovered new evidence that deposits in permanently shadowed regions of Mercury's poles is water ice. The ice is found predominantly in impact craters, according to data obtained by Messenger.

According to a NASA press release, the tilt of Mercury’s rotational axis is almost zero -- less than one degree -- so there are pockets at the planet’s poles that never see sunlight. Scientists suggested decades ago that there might be water ice at Mercury’s poles, but the new findings provide"compelling support" for that claim.

Messenger used neutron spectroscopy to measure average hydrogen concentrations, an indicator of water ice.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/29/water-on-mercury-nasa-announces-ice-poles_n_2212433.html



Still waiting for that 'big news' from Mars. Water on Mercury is a ho-hum.

28 replies, 4088 views

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Water On Mercury: NASA Announces Discovery Of Ice At Planet's Poles (Original post)
onehandle Nov 2012 OP
msongs Nov 2012 #1
SkyDaddy7 Nov 2012 #12
reACTIONary Nov 2012 #23
lunatica Nov 2012 #2
onehandle Nov 2012 #5
SemperEadem Nov 2012 #9
lunatica Nov 2012 #18
SemperEadem Nov 2012 #22
lunatica Nov 2012 #16
Peace Patriot Nov 2012 #25
SkyDaddy7 Nov 2012 #13
Bosonic Nov 2012 #3
Chef Eric Nov 2012 #4
n2doc Nov 2012 #6
redqueen Nov 2012 #7
SkyDaddy7 Nov 2012 #14
redqueen Nov 2012 #27
longship Nov 2012 #8
Coyotl Nov 2012 #10
bora13 Nov 2012 #11
SkyDaddy7 Nov 2012 #15
greiner3 Nov 2012 #20
bora13 Dec 2012 #28
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #17
LeftInTX Nov 2012 #21
reACTIONary Nov 2012 #24
lalalu Nov 2012 #19
lob1 Nov 2012 #26

Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:47 PM

1. seems like water ice would evaporate, like ice cubes left in a freezer for too long disappear nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:34 PM

12. There could be ground water...

that slowly seeps out over time?

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Response to SkyDaddy7 (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:54 PM

23. No. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun...

and is very, very baked. There isn't any "ground water" or free flowing liquid water of any sort on Mercury. These are ice deposits in craters that are close to the poles and thus NEVER get any sun. Instead of being "baked" they are frozen. The source of the ice is probably from comets that smashed into Mercury. When they land in an always dark crater, they stay frozen. Except for the time of impact, they never get above freezing.

The reason for the extreme temperature differences on Mercury is the lack of an atmosphere to "spread" the heat around. Without an atmosphere there is no convection transfer of heat. So a spot in the sun gets very, very hot, while an area that NEVER gets any sun stays very, very cold.

This post explains it: http://www.democraticunderground.com/122812799

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:49 PM

2. Water on Mars is huge news

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Response to lunatica (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:56 PM

5. It's common knowledge that water is everywhere in the universe.

It's like those news releases, every few months, when they discover planets around a random star.

Well, duh.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:09 PM

9. exactly

this solar system isn't the only one with water. Plenty of other galaxies I'm sure have the same building blocks in them, too.

Supposedly, one of Jupiter's moons is made up of nothing but ice. Saturn looks like it has ice at its poles, too. This is ho-hum.

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Response to SemperEadem (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:51 PM

18. How scientific of you

It looks like ice so ergo! It must be ice! QED

Ho hum

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Response to lunatica (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:58 PM

22. and how childish of you

anyone who spends any time watching videos or reading about science and the solar system and the universe understands that.

why do you feel so personally diminished by people's opinion on something that doesn't concern you personally that you have to lash out? Get a grip.

Yeah, it must be ice, since that's what the astrophysicists are saying it is.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:49 PM

16. No it isn't common knowledge

It's a common theory. Different.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 03:50 AM

25. These discoveries continue to amaze me--

--especially the discovery of water, or the likelihood of water, in so many places, and the hundreds of exoplanets that are being found.

You are evidently very young or haven't followed this science story with understanding of the incredible progress that has been made on these matters in such a short time or the technological wonders that are making them possible, as well as the technical expertise and brain power and persistence that are making them possible.

To say "ho hum," as the original poster tagged onto this story, or "well, duh," as you have just added, is as mind-boggling to me, in a negative way, as all these amazing discoveries are, in a positive way.

At the least, you and the original poster should show some RESPECT for the effort of other humans who are advancing our knowledge of the universe by leaps and bounds, with these discoveries. "Well, duh" is an egocentric, overly self-involved remark. It contributes nothing. It seek to deflate the work of brilliant people who are in the process of discovering that there is probably water EVERYWHERE and planets EVERYWHERE--a huge breakthrough in our understanding of our own planet, our own history--that of the human race--our solar system, our galaxy and the great universe.

The likely prevalence of water and exoplanets was NOT KNOWN twenty years ago. It was not even known TEN years ago. Do you realize how short a time that is? Do you realize what it MEANS?!

And with every new confirmation--more places where water is found or likely to be found, more planets around distant suns, more exoplanets in the "habitable" zone--this incredibly changed picture of the universe becomes clearer and clearer, that there is very likely LIFE everywhere. And that changes our understanding of life HERE forevermore. This is NEW. This was NEVER KNOWN before. And it has all happened very rapidly--in a mere fraction of a human lifetime.

My head is still spinning from it. How can you be so jaded? Maybe it's not that you're young and can't remember when these notions were actually scoffed at by "mainstream" scientists; maybe the problem is that you are a tired, crotchety oldster who has lost the sense of wonder. But, whatever your age and experience are, why inflict your sour, incurious outlook on others? If you have nothing to say but "well, duh," why not be silent until you can contribute something worthwhile?

----------------------

Suggested reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_liquid_water

Try to understand how difficult this search has been--for water, for exoplanets and ultimately for life. The first planet outside of our solar system in the "habitable" zone of its own sun was discovered only two years ago. Certain discoveries of water are rare; much of it is inference from other conditions, such as existing in the "habitable" zone. The statement that "there is water everywhere" is largely an extrapolation from the visits of our amazing and increasingly sophisticated unmanned spacecraft exploring our solar system, and from amazing and increasingly sophisticated instruments such as the Kepler and Hubble telescopes gathering images and other information from our galaxy (only one of many billions of galaxies in the universe).

You say that it is "common knowledge" that there is water everywhere. "Common knowledge" can be wrong. So why call upon "common knowledge" for your "well, duh" evaluation of this confirmation of water on Mercury? What you want is appreciation for the scientific work that is in progress, adding, bit by bit--all hard-won knowledge--to an utterly different picture of the universe and ourselves than ever existed before. The confirmations are important. They are the essence of science. And the technology and expertise that it took to RE-visit Mercury with better instruments than before is nothing short of awesome.

You and the original poster remind me of someone who is tone-deaf attending a magnificent orchestral production of Beethoven. "Well, duh." "Ho-hum." Why attend, if you cannot appreciate it?

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Response to lunatica (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:37 PM

13. They already found water on Mars...

To me water on Mercury is more surprising than water on Mars.

I just wonder what the "discovery for the history books" is that Mars Curiosity made? I guess we will find out in a week.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:51 PM

3. re 'Big News'

May be big misunderstanding.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/122812918

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:55 PM

4. Water ice? Yummy!

[link:|

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:01 PM

7. Confirmation isn't ho hum.

Not imo anyway.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:42 PM

14. I could not agree more!!

Too many folks think any discovery that is not little green men is "ho-hum"...Which to me is sad & points to the larger problem Americans have understanding real science.

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Response to SkyDaddy7 (Reply #14)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:12 AM

27. This comic addresses the issue in a somewhat amusing way.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:06 PM

8. I think every body in the solar system has water.

or ice on it.

In fact, unless there's something really weird about a planet or moon, I think every body which revolves around just about any star in the galaxy has H2O on it someplace.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. On Earth, Oxygen is, by far, the most common element. The Kuiper belt and Oort cloud are composed of millions, possibly billions, of comets which have H2O as a major constituent.

I think water must be in any star system, because I think it forms naturally throughout the galaxy, in dust clouds, etc.

The SETI people say, "Follow the water."

I think water is the rule, not the exception.

There are few bodies in our solar system without it. In fact, I have not heard of a single one that they've ruled it out.

Even Earth's moon has plenty of it. And now Mercury. The rest of the planets we already know about, and many of the moons.

I think it is a good hypothesis.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:14 PM

10. Great announcement video.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/10414700

http://www.npr.org/2012/11/29/166162020/space-probe-finds-ice-in-mercurys-craters

Audio for this story from All Things Considered will be available at approx. 7:00 p.m. ET

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:26 PM

11. Breaking news on Mercury:

Water On Earth: Mercury Space Administration Announces Discovery Of Water At Planet's Poles

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Response to bora13 (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:43 PM

15. Not sure I got the joke?

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Response to SkyDaddy7 (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 07:00 PM

20. Dude;

Just think about it!

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Response to SkyDaddy7 (Reply #15)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:11 PM

28. you must read between the poles...

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:50 PM

17. That is cool! I thought it would have been to hot there to have ice.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:51 PM

21. That's what I thought too!

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:05 PM

24. Its VERY hot... But in spots its VERY cold...

The ice is at the bottom of craters close to the poles. Because of the tilt of Mercury's spin axis these craters NEVER get any sun. Since there is no atmosphere on Mercury to move heat around, the spots that do not get sun stay VERY cold.

See reply 23 above, and this post that explains it: http://www.democraticunderground.com/122812799

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 06:05 PM

19. Meh. Utility companies

 

are already dividing up the planet and planning to install meters.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:16 AM

26. I wish they could find water in the San Fernando Valley.

We need real rain here in L.A.

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