>

Infographic of the Day: Finding Ice on Mercury

December 21st, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Scientists confirmed the ice by using an instrument on the Messenger spacecraft that detects neutrons. It is suspected that Mercury’s south pole also harbors ice deposits, but the Messenger probe’s orbit has not allowed for measurements of the southern region yet.

Follow up:

 

Learn about how billions of tons of water ice stays frozen at the north pole of the hottest planet, Mercury, in this SPACE.com infographic.
Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

In 1991, scientists probed the planet Mercury with radar beamed from Earth. They observed near the north pole areas of permanent darkness, perhaps harboring deposits of water ice. Now, observations from the Messenger probe orbiting Mercury show that the areas are definitely water ice, partially covered by dark organic deposits. Hundreds of billions of tons of ice could exist in these shadowed, frozen pits.

The planet nearest the sun has a diameter about two-fifths that of Earth and gravity about 38 percent as strong as ours.  Mercury has the most eccentric orbit of any planet, with a distance ranging from 29 million to 44 million miles (46 to 70 million kilometers) from the sun. [Ice on Mercury Explained (Video)]

With a diameter of 3,032 miles (4,879 km), Mercury is slightly larger than Earth’s moon.

Planet Mercury: Simple Facts, Tough Quiz

As Mercury orbits the sun, some areas within deep craters never receive direct sunlight. The cold areas have been stable for up to billions of years, allowing ancient ice to be preserved despite Mercury’s proximity to the sun. The ice may have been carried to Mercury by comets falling from the outer reaches of the solar system.

Scientists confirmed the ice by using an instrument on the Messenger spacecraft that detects neutrons. It is suspected that Mercury’s south pole also harbors ice deposits, but the Messenger probe’s orbit has not allowed for measurements of the southern region yet.

 









Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.















Proud contributor to:


Finance Blogs
blog

Econintersect Website Search:

Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2015 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved