You Found What, Where?

Nothing is quite as refreshing during the long hot days like a glass of cool water…especially on Mercury.

Mercury

What you say?  Mercury has water?  That dried up, Sun baked little planet that orbits the Sun in 88 days Mercury?  Yes, that planet.

Image by B.B. Pelleiter

Surface temperatures on Mercury can reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 degrees Celsius), which is hot enough to melt lead.  But it turns out that there may be ice on the Planet as well.

Researchers from NASA, MIT, UCLA among others, have discovered evidence that Mercury may have pockets of water ice, along with organic material, in several permanently shadowed craters near Mercury’s north pole.

Analyzing data of Mercury’s polar regions taken by NASA’s MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) mission, scientists found that there are craters that are permanently in shadow and the temperature in the shadows is quite cold.

I’m not sure how the ice survives because Mercury isn’t tidally locked to the Sun (unlike our Moon which is tidally locked and always keeping the same face directed towards the Earth).  These craters have to be configured just right so that the 3:2 spin–orbit resonance of Mercury (the planet rotates three times for every two revolutions around the Sun) would keep the ice in the shadows.

However it is happening, it would still be a relief to be able to have an ice cold drink to get out of the 800 degree sun.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

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