Photos of the Sun

Mercury ice. The Sun, Mercury and Venus

Mercury ice. The Sun, Mercury and Venus

Thanks to the data and images sent by the MESSENGER (Mercury Surface Space Environment Geochemistry & Ranging), we know that on the planet Mercury there could be signs of ice. The MESSENGER is the first spacecraft that travels in the orbit of Mercury, and offers scientists important clues about the origin of the planet and its complicated geological history.

Despite being the closest planet to the Sun, at the poles of Mercury there are the necessary conditions for the existence of ice. In the image you can see some of the craters closest to the poles of Mercury. In its depths temperatures can reach down to 370 degrees Celsius below zero.

Just over two decades ago, through radar images made from Earth, something similar to bright deposits at the poles of the planet Mercury could be observed. They could accumulate water in the form of ice or other types of ice. Specialists believe that it could be traces of frozen water, preserved by a volatile element of sulfur.

The MESSENGER spacecraft is trying to confirm this hypothesis by calculating the depth of the ground of the craters that are close to the north pole of Mercury. In principle, the deposit housing craters at the poles appear to be deep enough to have areas of permanent shade, away from the continuous solar wind that blows on the burning surface of Mercury. Do not forget that the planet's temperatures reach 400 degrees.

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Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: The Sun, Mercury and Venus