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Water Ice on Mercury

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posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 05:37 PM
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Astonished scientists have reported the discovery of water ice on Mercury, and in large amounts.

www.planetary.org...


As MESSENGER flew past the night side of Mercury in January, its Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) scooped up ions from an atmosphere so tenuous that it's usually called an "exosphere." FIPS measured the expected amounts of ions like sodium, potassium, and calcium that had previously been detected in Mercury's exosphere, but to the science team's great surprise there was also water present, and in large amounts. "Nobody expected that. I don't know a single person that did. We were astonished, just astonished," said MESSENGER science team member Thomas Zurbuchen.


I expected water to be found on Mars but never Mercury. Also, the planet Mercury appears to be shrinking.


One of Mercury's most puzzling qualities is its large iron core, which makes up 60 percent of the planet. The outsized core suggests to some scientists that Mercury may once have been larger and that its outer layers were stripped away by an unidentified process.

As Messenger sped close in January, it found the metal core to be responsible for an active magnetic field around the planet. The presence of a global magnetic field is a feature Mercury shares with Earth, but not sister planets Venus and Mars.

The probe also found volcanic vents, unseen by Mariner, that show ancient lava flows contributed to the material that covers much of Mercury's surface. Previously, it appeared the material flowed from craters formed as the planet was pelted by asteroids and comets.


www.nrao.edu...

www.chron.com...

No matter how much we think we know about the solar system, there will always be so much more to learn.




posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by TheComte
Astonished scientists have reported the discovery of water ice on Mercury, and in large amounts.


The link does not claim the detection of water ice, only water vapor in mercury's thin exosphere. Water ice in permanently shadowed craters is a hypothesis, but far from proven or even reasonably supported by evidence.

[edit on 8-7-2008 by ngchunter]



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 09:16 PM
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Ice caps were found on mercury, think article is from 2004, but still, ice caps, not water vapour.

findarticles.com...

[edit on 8-7-2008 by ElectroMagnetic Multivers]



posted on Jul, 8 2008 @ 09:42 PM
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Originally posted by ElectroMagnetic Multivers
Ice caps were found on mercury, think article is from 2004, but still, ice caps, not water vapour.

findarticles.com...

[edit on 8-7-2008 by ElectroMagnetic Multivers]

I had heard of the radar investigation, but the presence of ice caps was only one possible reason for the backscattering. It's the probably most likely conclusion, but even so that alone does not prove the composition of the ice caps was chiefly water. The article the OP linked to is definately about water vapor though, not the ice caps.

[edit on 8-7-2008 by ngchunter]



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 03:41 PM
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WOW! Such an amazing discovery - I can't believe this has been kept out of the public for so long - I myself just found out about it today while reading thru the news on google - it made it to the New York Times! This gives me a strong feeling that something is about to happen....

Anyway, this post should be on the front page of ATS, not buried and hidden among so many others


www.nytimes.com...



Indeed, Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, possesses a lot of ice — 100 billion to 1 trillion tons — scientists working with NASA’s Messenger spacecraft reported on Thursday.

Indeed, Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, possesses a lot of ice — 100 billion to 1 trillion tons — scientists working with NASA’s Messenger spacecraft reported on Thursday.

Sean C. Solomon, the principal investigator for Messenger, said there was enough ice there to encase Washington, D.C., in a frozen block two and a half miles deep.
edit on 29-11-2012 by Time2Think because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 04:19 PM
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reply to post by ngchunter
 


The NASA article indicates that this serves as evidence for water ice.
www.nasa.gov...




Now the newest data from MESSENGER strongly indicate that water ice is the major constituent of Mercury's north polar deposits, that ice is exposed at the surface in the coldest of those deposits, but that the ice is buried beneath an unusually dark material across most of the deposits, areas where temperatures are a bit too warm for ice to be stable at the surface itself.

MESSENGER uses neutron spectroscopy to measure average hydrogen concentrations within Mercury's radar-bright regions. Water-ice concentrations are derived from the hydrogen measurements. "The neutron data indicate that Mercury's radar-bright polar deposits contain, on average, a hydrogen-rich layer more than tens of centimeters thick beneath a surficial layer 10 to 20 centimeters thick that is less rich in hydrogen," writes David Lawrence, a MESSENGER Participating Scientist based at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the lead author of one of the papers. "The buried layer has a hydrogen content consistent with nearly pure water ice."





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