Messenger , the capsule exploration NASA has found evidence of water ice in some areas of the north pole of Mercury . According to the agency, it is confirmed that there is ice in the craters of the planet closest to the Sun.
The news was released by Sean Solomon, principal investigator of the program Mercury Messenger , who explained that the mission had found evidence that regions permanentementes deposits in the shadow of the poles of Mercury containing ice and found predominantly in the impact craters according to data obtained by the probe.
NASA explained that the inclination of the axis of rotation of Mercury is near zero, less than a degree, so that there are pockets in the planet’s poles that never see sunlight Thus scientists suggested decades ago there may be water ice on Mercury’s poles, which in a few hours it has been confirmed.
This Messenger used neutron spectroscopy, to measure average hydrogen concentrations, an indicator of the presence of ice. According to David Lawrence, one of the researchers:
The data indicate that the neutron Mercury polar deposits contain, on average, a hydrogen-rich layer of tens of centimeters thick under a layer of about 10 to 20 centimeters in thickness which is less rich in hydrogen. The buried layer has a hydrogen content consisting of almost pure water ice.
Messenger was launched in August 2004, the spacecraft entered the planet’s orbit in March 2011. A mission that was designed to analyze how the planet was closest to the Sun
That 2011 the probe sent data provided new evidence of widespread volcanic activity on the planet, including an extension of volcanic plains surrounding the north pole of Mercury. An enclave that according to NASA, covering more than 6% of the total surface of the planet. In addition, other objectives of the study included Messenger nature of magnetic fields on Mercury, the structure of its core, its geological history and the composition of its exosphere.