NASA spacecraft discovers 'ice' on Mercury
- Not RSSâ job to chant âNamo, Namoâ, canât cross limits: Mohan Bhagwat
- Malaysia Airlines flight case: âFakeâ passports mystery deepens
- Mocking Nitishâs âPM hopesâ, Modi woos Muslims, Yadavs
- Kejriwal accused of influencing TV interview
- Dalit teen canât pay to cheat in exam, immolates himself
A NASA spacecraft has confirmed the presence of abundant 'icy' water along with other frozen volatile materials within 'burning hot' Mercury's permanently shadowed polar craters.
NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft has been studying Mercury, the nearest planet to the Sun, in unprecedented detail since its historic arrival there in March 2011.
Scientists have seen clearly for the first time a chapter in the story of how the inner planets, including Earth, acquired their water and some of the chemical building blocks for life, NASA said in a statement.
"The new data indicate the water ice in Mercury's polar regions, if spread over an area the size of Washington, DC, would be more than 2 miles thick," said David Lawrence, a MESSENGER participating scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).
Spacecraft instruments completed the first measurements of excess hydrogen at Mercury's north pole, its reflectivity of polar deposits at near-infrared wavelengths and enabled the detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of the planet's north polar regions.
Given its proximity to the Sun, Mercury would seem to be an unlikely place to find ice.
However, the tilt of Mercury's rotational axis is less than 1 degree, and as a result, there are pockets at the planet's poles that never see sunlight.
Scientists suggested decades ago there might be water ice and other frozen volatiles trapped at Mercury's poles.
Images from the spacecraft taken in 2011 and earlier this year confirmed all radar-bright features at Mercury's north and south poles lie within shadowed regions on the planet's surface.
The new observations from MESSENGER support the idea that ice is the major constituent of Mercury's north polar deposits.
These measurements also reveal ice is exposed at the surface in the coldest of those deposits, but buried beneath unusually dark material across most of the deposits.
- Eight held for ‘attacking’ Dalit wedding procession in Sabarkantha
- 90 airports on alert to check movement of cash ahead of elections
- Notices to 23 hospitals for withdrawing facility
- Sindhis threaten to move HC if Sindhu Sagar not cleaned
- In Mumbai, teacher’s love story with student ends in her arrest
- Govt dismisses AAP allegations
- AAP workers stage protest outside Kejriwal’s residence over ticket distribution
- BJP boycotts NDTV over news gaffe | The Indian Express
- Out of the promised 50,000 homes for the poor, not even 50 constructed in Gujarat by BJP: Kejriwal
- BJP complains to EC against Rahul over RSS remarks, seeks derecognition of Congress