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NASA's MESSENGER Finds New Evidence for Water Ice at Mercury's Poles

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11-29-2012, 04:13 PM
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NASA's MESSENGER Finds New Evidence for Water Ice at Mercury's Poles

New observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft provide compelling support for the long-held hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters.

Three independent lines of evidence support this conclusion: the first measurements of excess hydrogen at Mercury's north pole with MESSENGER's Neutron Spectrometer, the first measurements of the reflectance of Mercury's polar deposits at near-infrared wavelengths with the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), and the first detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of Mercury's north polar regions that utilize the actual topography of Mercury's surface measured by the MLA. These findings are presented in three papers published online today in Science Express.


Last edited by Beef Invictus: 11-29-2012 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Can't post entire article
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11-29-2012, 05:19 PM
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I don't think it should surprise anyone, considering Mercury's nearly vertical in its orbit. Any time you have surface not touched by sunlight and no radiant heating from atmosphere, you're likely to see some water ice.

That said, it's nice to have confirmation on a previously held theory.

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11-29-2012, 09:02 PM
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Very neat to hear.

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