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"Water Ice On Mercury" Topic

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671 hits since 29 Nov 2012
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2012 9:52 p.m. PST

"Mercury, the smallest and innermost planet in our solar system, revolves around the sun in a mere 88 days, making a tight orbit that keeps the planet incredibly toasty. Surface temperatures on Mercury can reach a blistering 800 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to liquefy lead.

Now researchers from NASA, MIT, the University of California at Los Angeles and elsewhere have discovered evidence that the scorching planet may harbor pockets of water ice, along with organic material, in several permanently shadowed craters near Mercury's north pole.

The surprising discovery suggests to scientists that both ice and organic material, such as carbon, may have been deposited on Mercury's surface by impacts from comets or asteroids. Over time, this volatile material could then have migrated to the planet's poles…"
Full article here

Hope you find it interesting.


Mako11 Inactive Member30 Nov 2012 12:42 a.m. PST

Wow, talk about global warming……

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2012 6:39 a.m. PST

Personally, I wonder if water, in whatever form, is one of the most abundant things in the universe…

Eclectic Wave30 Nov 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

Dave Jackson

Well considering that 2/3rds of water (H2O) is hydrogen, the most commen element in the universe, you are more then half right with your supposition.

boy wundyr x Inactive Member30 Nov 2012 12:21 p.m. PST

So Space 1889 wasn't too far off…

Augustus Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2012 7:13 p.m. PST

This is something I do not find that surprising. However, the specific amounts are pretty darn high.

Consider too that Mercury has the same (essentially) gravity as Mars and this starts adding up to an interesting proposition.

The fact Messenger can survive that radiation between the Sun and Mercury is something else I'd say.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2012 6:53 a.m. PST

@Dave Jackson & Eclectic Wave: Yes, water is indeed one of the most abundant compounds in the Universe. The Solar System itself is full of it. It's found on comets, meteors, asteroids, moons, and planets. The only reason we popularly assume that it's not everywhere is because in the popular imagination ice and H2O vapor don't count as wateró only liquid seas, lakes and rivers do. So we get Hollywood nonsense like aliens invading Earth for our water (if they really did need that much water all at once, they'd just snag Europa and leave us be).

Still, finding ice on Mercury is impressive.

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