NASA: Closest planet to sun harbors ice
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
TribLive commenting policy
- Penguins rally in wake of Dupuis injury
- Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return
- Fans out in force to rally for beloved Bucs
- Wolf still seeking to raise income tax, impose tax on shale-gas drilling
- Road crews are dealing with oil and sealant spills on roadways
- Steelers’ Bryant returns from drug suspension, ‘won’t happen again’
- New Steelers kicker Boswell ready for challenge at Heinz
- Audit: Pennsylvania’s education master plan is 16 years out of date
- Starkey: Searage, Pirates ultra-confident
- Latrobe infant found in filth, police say
- Audit shows some items cost more at Pittsburgh airport’s Airmall