Icy hot, #MercuryIce #amacrojot

http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/16/photos-of-ice-on-mercury/?ncid=rss_truncated

Out of all the places in the solar system that NASA could look for ice, you would think that the planet closest to the Sun would be way down the list. It gets up to 450 degrees during the day, there is no atmosphere, no activity, nothing.

But Mercury ‘s tilt is almost directly up, I.e., it’s North Pole points directly up out of the solar system. It’s rotation is very slow, such that its year is 1 and a half ‘days’ (and its real solar day is actually 2 of its years) so it get baked on the dayside and cooled to -150 degrees on its night side. Put all this together and frozen water ice might survive. Especially at the poles.

Now, Nasa has confirmed this by capturing the first ever pictures of water ice on Mercury. It turns out that craters near the poles can be permanently shadowed from the Sun. Scientists have long thought this might be the case especially when radio telescopes scanning the planet found strongly reflected radar signals (a good sign that ice is present).

In this most recent study, scientists examined a number of impact craters near Mercury’s north pole and found that the deposits were made surprisingly recently. “The sharp boundaries indicate that the volatile deposits at Mercury’s poles are geologically young,” wrote the study’s authors in the journal Geology, “and either are restored at the surface through an ongoing process or were delivered to the planet recently.” Now we have definitely found ice on Mercury, we have to explain how it got there.

Like every discovery, it poses more questions.

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14 comments on “Icy hot, #MercuryIce #amacrojot

  1. I think it’s interesting how Mercury’s axis tilt plays a critical role in the presence of ice water in the planet. What it is very amusing is the fact that, the conditions where Mercury is have managed to keep the ice water for so long.

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  2. Logically, I always thought that ice on Mercury would not be possible. Given its proximity to the Sun and lack of atmosphere. Just goes to show that anything is pretty much possible in the universe!

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  3. I think is pretty cool, like most others I wouldn’t have thought you could find ice on the planet that next to the sun. seeing as the poles are slightly tilted I kind of makes sense though.

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  4. I thinks that is pretty awesome that ice around the poles of mercury, and that there are some craters near the pole that shadow the sun keeping frozen water near the poles.

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  5. Interesting article! I agree I would have never thought that closest planet to the sun has ice on it. Even if sunlight doesn’t hit the areas with ice directly I would’ve imagine that the surface of Mercury will be so hot (due to its closeness to the sun) that it wouldn’t allow any ice formation, or for that matter water. Looking forward to new updates on this matter.

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  6. The ice found on mercury has to do with the tilt because it is always upright the poles do not get any sun like the equator does. With the drastic change in temperature and how cold it is it would be likely so to find ice at the poles. It does however pose questions about what more we will discover as time goes on.

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  7. The fact that Mercury can get so cold even though it is the closest planet to the sun is very interesting. Since we now know there is ice on Mercury, I am interested in finding out where the water/ice came from.

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  8. I was thinking about the possibility of ice being at the poles of Mercury the other day in class, and if it was really possible. Turns out it is a reality! Now that “water ice” has been proven to exist, its time to figure out how it got there and has managed to remain on a planet so close to the sun. I love science and the new discoveries.

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  9. Being the closest planet to the sun seems unlikely for there to be any ice found on Mercury. But the fact that the poles do not see the sun makes a lot of sense for them to be freezing cold. What I found really interesting was where the water came from that turned into ice. It almost seems as if the water came from the meteorite that crashed into the planet which formed the crater. That is where the ice was found, so just where did the liquid part come from! That’s what I would like to know. Interesting learning about new astronomical discoveries made everyday.

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  10. Its understandable how ice could remain in the poles of Mercury because its tilt doesn’t allow light to directly hit that surface. The fact that it is concentrated by craters could help determine if comets are what distribute water throughout the solar system.

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  11. I wondered how ice would linger on Mercury, but that makes a lot of sense that it’s in the creators like a little cup. It would be really weird and extraordinary for everyone if there’s microorganisms in the creator water. Even if they are frozen in time. Have we looked at all?

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