TribLIVE

| Home


Weather Forecast
 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

NASA: Closest planet to sun harbors ice

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints
Reuters | NASA handout
A radar image of Mercury's north polar region acquired by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is shown superposed on a mosaic of Mercury MESSENGER images of the same area in this NASA handout photo released November 29, 2012. Shown in red are areas of Mercury'’s north polar region that are in shadow in all images acquired by MESSENGER to date. Since their discovery in 1992, these polar deposits have been hypothesized to consist of water ice trapped in permanently shadowed areas near Mercury’'s north and south poles, but other explanations for the polar deposits have also been suggested.

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 3:22 p.m.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A NASA spacecraft has confirmed there's ice at Mercury's north pole.

Scientists announced Thursday that the orbiting probe, Messenger, has found evidence of frozen water, even though Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. The ice is located in the permanently shadowed region of Mercury's north pole. It's thought to be at least one-and-a-half feet deep - and possibly as much as 65 feet deep.

Scientists say it's likely Mercury's south pole also has ice, though there are no data to support it. Messenger orbits much closer to the north pole than the south.

Radar measurements, for years, have suggested the presence of ice. Now scientists know for a fact.

Messenger is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. It was launched in 2004.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. East Allegheny counselors receive national recognition
  2. Kovacevic: Panic over Pirates? In April?
  3. Patience pays off as starting pitcher Volquez gets 1st win for Pirates
  4. Undersized rookie Gibbons is blur on ice for Penguins
  5. Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
  6. Officials in North Versailles fed up with littering
  7. Pens insider: Penalty killing a concern in Stanley Cup playoffs
  8. Rice cornerback among 3 draft prospects to visit Steelers
  9. Hempfield church offers rides to shut-ins for Holy Thursday service
  10. Panthers pulling weight for new strength coach
  11. Steel Valley Bicycle Tour will raise funds for trail maintenance
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.