Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Northern Mercury
Posted on 12/01/2012 10:10:52 AM PST by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Innermost planet Mercurywould probably not be a good location for an interplanetary winter olympics. But new results based on data from the Mercury orbitingMESSENGER spacecraft indicate that it does have substantial water icein permanently shadowed regions within craters near its north pole. The possibility of ice on Mercury has been entertained for years, inspired by the discovery of radar bright, hence highly reflective, regions near the north pole. Highlighted in yellow in this map based on projected MESSENGER images, radar bright regions are seen to correspond with floors and walls of north polar impact craters. Farther from the pole the regions are concentrated on the north facing crater walls. MESSENGER's neutronspectroscopy and thermal models for the craters indicate material in these regions has a hydrogen content consistent with nearly pure water ice and is trapped in an area with temperatures that remain below 100 kelvins(-280 deg.F, -173 deg.C). In circumstances similar to permanent shadows in craters of the Moon, debris from comet impacts is thought to be the source of ice on Mercury.
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That is interesting! Ice that close to the Sun doesn’t sound logical. But what do I know? I am not a scientist.
Thanks for posting.
Absent an atmosphere there is no transfer of heat so it’s awfully cold in the permanent shade.
If we ever put a base on Mercury, that would seem the best place for it.
Maybe it could replace Gitmo.....
The ice likely arrived via impact (Mercury’s covered with impact craters); much of it vanished back into space, particularly on the daylight side. It used to be thought that Mercury was in 1:1 resonance and showed the same face to the Sun, but that was found to be not true when technology emerged that made it possible to study it directly. So, the ice arrives and hangs out a while, then the Sun comes out...
Mercury has no Axial Tilt. Hence why this is possible. :)
Yep. a world of absolutes.
That’s amazing. Thank you, my friend.
I would make a great home for a certain group of people we know.
Powell’s voice sounded thoroughly wretched. “It’s the same old runaround. We can push at Rule 2 and pull at Rule 3 and we can’t get anywhere-we can only change the position of balance. We’ve got to get outside both rules.” And then he pushed his robot closer to Donovan’s so that they were sitting face to face, dim shadows in the darkness, and he whispered, “Mike!”
Ah yes, those pesky Laws of Robotics, I remember that story from my youth.
:’) Thanks, all, and (probably) g’night.