NASA probe found evidence for the existence of water ice at Mercury’s poles
NASA’s Messenger probe has found further tantalizing evidence for the existence of water ice at Mercury’s poles.
Though surface temperatures can soar above 400 C, some craters at Mercury’s poles are permanently in shadow, turning them into so-called cold traps.
Previous work has revealed patches near Mercury’s poles that strongly reflect radar – a characteristic of ice.
Now, the Messenger probe has shown that these “radar-bright” patches line up precisely with the shadowed craters.
Messenger is only the second spacecraft – after Mariner 10 in the 1970’s – to have visited the innermost planet. Until Messenger arrived, large swathes of Mercury’s surface had never been mapped.
The bright patches were detected by ground-based radio telescopes in the 1990s, but as co-author Dr. Nancy Chabot explained: “We’ve never had the imagery available before to see the surface where these radar-bright features are located.”
The researchers superimposed observations of radar bright patches by the Arecibo Observatory on the latest photos of Mercury’s poles taken by the MDIS imaging instrument aboard Messenger.
“MDIS images show that all the radar-bright features near Mercury’s south pole are located in areas of permanent shadow,” said Dr. Nancy Chabot, from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL).
“Near Mercury’s north pole such deposits are also seen only in shadowed regions, results consistent with the water-ice hypothesis.”
However, Dr. Nancy Chabot cautions, this does not constitute proof, and for many craters, icy deposits would need to be covered by a thin layer (10-20 cm) of insulating debris in order to remain stable.
Maria Zuber, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who is a co-investigator on the Messenger mission, said: “The most interesting interpretation of [the radar observations] is that they were due to water ice.
“Sulphur had been proposed, there had also been some suggestion it was roughness – though there was no reason craters at the poles should be rougher than those at low latitudes.”
“The new data from Messenger… is strengthening the evidence that there is some sort of volatile there, and water-ice seems quite likely.”
Maria Zuber said information from several instruments on Messenger was currently being analyzed in order to answer the ice conundrum: “I think this is a question that we can come to a definitive answer on, as opposed to <<we think it may be this>>,” the MIT researcher explained.
On Wednesday, scientists from the Messenger mission published findings that Mercury had been geologically active for a long period in its history.
Data from the probe shows that impact craters on the planet’s surface were distorted by some geological process after they formed.
The findings, reported in Science magazine, challenge long-held views about the closest world to the Sun.
Scientists also presented a new model of Mercury’s internal structure, which suggests the planet’s huge inner core is encased in a shell of iron sulphide – a situation not seen on any other planet.
Messenger was launched in 2004, and entered orbit around its target in March last year. NASA recently announced that its mission would be extended until 2013.
Related search articles:
- Powered by Article Dashboard art institute san francisco
- todashev autopsy photos
- Published News Upcoming News Submit a New Story Groups science definitions
- ibragim todashev autopsy photos
- mens hairy crotches
- todashev autopsy photo
- shania twain before famous
- nancy odell oops
- 399 pixel wide ajith images
- are there any photos of jfk jr\s plane on ocean bottom
- XNXX DRADAR AND SESTAR
- sally boazman topless photo
- nancy lanza political stance
- poonam pandey vulva
- sandy hook lawsuits filed
- sister to radar xnxx
- stockings of the sixties photos
- twnkal khanna hot hot gold dress images
- upskirt snooki uncensored
- was nancy lanza registered as a democrat
- where did nancy grace get handcuff necklace
- young Americn Indian woman dancing around a fire photo
- pictues hairy male crotches
- obamas daughters picture taking
- no evidence of ice on mercurys surface
- amanda conway flight attendant
- Buck wild uncensord
- did nanxy grace find her handcuff necklace
- fort myers snake water treatment
- girl in planet fitness ad
- handcuff choker necklace like Nancy Grace
- dead diane schuler
- justin beiber leaded photo
- kim kardashian shaking in water
- lady spokesperson nasa
- maria sharapova smoking list
- miss victoria tage luo
- model in give me a reason
- nancy o\dell black skin tight pants
- nancy w plumeri
- 4/14 story about Parkinsons breaksthru
Short URL: http://www.bellenews.com/?p=16084