Mercury May Be Hiding Water Ice

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posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 10:16 PM
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www.space.com...



New evidence from the first probe to orbit Mercury is building support for the idea that the tiny planet may be harboring water ice in some of its most extreme terrain. Certain areas of Mercury's poles were previously found to be bright in radio waves detected by radar measurements from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Now, the Messenger spacecraft has found that those same bright radar spots appear to be in permanent shadow, according to camera views from the probe's Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS).




Now how abundant is water ice on other planets really, seems like we keep finding something new like this everyday. Now there is a chance it might not be water ice, but if it does turn out to be true looks like we'll have to fix some more things in the science books.

edit on 26-3-2012 by Brandon88 because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 10:24 PM
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Seems like until just a "few years ago" (i.e. recent times), the thought of anywhere but earth having water was unthinkable and completely laughed at by the mainstream scientists and media.

And now it's everyfreakingwhere lol

Cool info, OP thanks much. Just find it funny how the paradigm can shift so swiftly.


Wonder what's next?



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 11:24 PM
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reply to post by Jomina
 





Wonder what's next?


Time share!



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 07:25 PM
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So is it possible that there would be liquid water too? I mean in the small section between where its cold enough to freeze water and its hot enough to evaporate water there should be liquid water right? Perhaps maybe some microbes swimming around.



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:23 AM
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Originally posted by Jomina
Seems like until just a "few years ago" (i.e. recent times), the thought of anywhere but earth having water was unthinkable and completely laughed at by the mainstream scientists and media.


Seems that way only because you lock your mind in a dark intellectual ghetto and refuse to read real science stuff. Then you blame other prople for YOUR self-imposed ignorance?

Make this a teachable moment, and un-imprison your mind.


From: James Oberg
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 11:46 AM
Subject: Planet Mercury poles -- water ice found, or debunked?



Jim Oberg advises:

0. NASA has scheduled a press conference on Thursday 2 PM EST
to discuss findings from the 'Messenger' probe now orbiting the
planet Mercury. The subject: the 'polar regions'.

1. Mercury, the innermost and hottest of the planets in the
Solar System, also seems to have one particular oddity: it
may also be the location of the COLDEST region of all the planets,
even still counting Pluto as a 'planet'..

2. And that has led, in recent years, to speculation that these
scattered regions, in the shaded craters at the north and south poles,
contain deep-frozen water ice. Radar signals from Earth, bounced back
from these regions, are unexplained, but water ice is most liklely.

3. That's right -- a genuine 'ice cap' on a planet hot enough to melt lead.

4. The 'Messenger' probe is operated by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
outside of Baltimore. Here's the home page with visual resources:
messenger.jhuapl.edu...

5. These ice glaciers are plausible only because of two characteristics of Mercury:
it has a nearly straight up-and-down rotation axis [unlike Earth or Mars, with
large axial tilts about 23 degrees or so], so with a deep enough
bowl-shaped crater, sunlight will never fall into that area, AND it has no
atmosphere [much less oceans] to carry equatorial heat to the
permanently-shadowed polar regions.

6. So far, I've not been able to wiggle free any precise results, that
are embargoed until the time of the presser, that will be published in
'Science' magazine.

7. But the results surely will focus on the question of ice
-- either a confirmation of it, or a 'non-ice' explanation for radar
reflections from these deep polar craters. Similar reflections from
real ice on other worlds -- Mars, the moons of Jupiter, for example --
look just like these Mercury radar reflections. And 'dirty ice' in some
lunar polar craters, long hinted at from similar radar returns, have
now been confirmed by instruments in orbiting probes.

8. But the Mercury reflections COULD be caused by something else, such as 'sulfur snow'
or even just super-cold stone. The radar observations are from the coldest-ever
regions yet explored by radar, so that's remotely possible.


9. Either way, it's a major planetary puzzle and we may get the answer
Thursday.

10. If it IS ice, it's not just another on-site resource for future explorers. The ice
layers may be pages in book of solar activity variations going back hundreds of
millions of years, maybe even billions of years. We live next door to that fusion
furnace and we really need to understand its mood swings.

11. If it's something even MORE exotic, that's thrilling too..

12. For background, I'm excerpting current NASA planetary experts on
the status, as of today, of the mystery, below:

13. nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov...
"The radar results indicate the reflective areas are probably relatively uncontaminated ice... "

"Note that no direct unequivocal detection of ice has been made. The coincidence of the radar bright areas with large, possibly permanently shadowed, polar craters is strong circumstantial evidence for ice. However, the radar reflections could be explained by an enhancement of some other radar reflective material, such as metal sulphides or other metallic condensates, or precipitated sodium ions. "

"However, theoretical studies assuming typical crater dimensions show that craters near the poles should have areas which never rise above about 102 K (4) and that even flat surfaces at the poles would not exceed about 167 K (5). Other studies (6-7) also indicate that water ice in polar craters on Mercury could be stable over the age of the solar system. "




posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:27 AM
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I am teaching my daughter about the solar system right now.
We had better revisit Mercury.



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by burnett662
So is it possible that there would be liquid water too? I mean in the small section between where its cold enough to freeze water and its hot enough to evaporate water there should be liquid water right? Perhaps maybe some microbes swimming around.


That's a good question but you need to switch your horizontal with your vertical.

The surface shadow boundary varies over the course of the Mercury day, so for any water, it's either deep frozen, or driven off by the sunlight -- no liquid phase.

HOWEVER, your concept is sound, but change the direction into down into the ground. The interior of the planet is warm. The surface in the polar craters is cold. Somewhere between, water could exist in liquid form, with a solid layer of ice protecting it.

Problem is, that's probably several MILES down, and the depth of the ice is PROBABLY only measured in meters, or tens of meters.

That's average depth. If some ice got down deeper -- say, into a deep crevice or volcanic vent where the ice molecules could have descended DEEP into Mercury where it's warmer, we're now talking about potential habitats for biology.

So your intuition is spot on. Kudos.



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:32 AM
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they said on the live stream that liquid water would be nearly impossible because of lack of atmosphere.

it either freezes solid or turns to vapor



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:36 AM
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Seems strange that Mercury, a planet so close to the sun, can have ice on it. That doesn't compute to me. No atmosphere to hold it in when it vaporizes, how would it be there. Unless what I have been taught in the past was wrong, a frequent thing that happens in the sciences.....



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 10:34 PM
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Originally posted by JimOberg

Originally posted by burnett662
So is it possible that there would be liquid water too? I mean in the small section between where its cold enough to freeze water and its hot enough to evaporate water there should be liquid water right? Perhaps maybe some microbes swimming around.


That's a good question but you need to switch your horizontal with your vertical.

The surface shadow boundary varies over the course of the Mercury day, so for any water, it's either deep frozen, or driven off by the sunlight -- no liquid phase.

HOWEVER, your concept is sound, but change the direction into down into the ground. The interior of the planet is warm. The surface in the polar craters is cold. Somewhere between, water could exist in liquid form, with a solid layer of ice protecting it.

Problem is, that's probably several MILES down, and the depth of the ice is PROBABLY only measured in meters, or tens of meters.

That's average depth. If some ice got down deeper -- say, into a deep crevice or volcanic vent where the ice molecules could have descended DEEP into Mercury where it's warmer, we're now talking about potential habitats for biology.

So your intuition is spot on. Kudos.
edit on 30-11-2012 by burnett662 because: (no reason given)


Uh maybe I misread my own post about the liquid only being on the surface, let me read it again... no still don't see it. Well thanks for the "kudos" anyway
edit on 30-11-2012 by burnett662 because: (no reason given)





 
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