Truth Frequency Radio

Nov 30, 2012

Mercury’s water ice at north pole finally proven

Messenger neutron and Arecibo radio data at Mercury's pole First hints of water came from radio data two decades ago, which Messenger has now shown to be accurate

Scientists have finally shown what has been postulated for decades: the planet Mercury holds billions of tonnes of water ice at its north pole.

A report in Science shows evidence from the Messenger spacecraft that craters in constant shadow host water.

A futher pair of Science papers shows that much of the ice is beneath an insulating layer of dark material rich in organic and “volatile” molecules.

The findings may help explain how these ingredients first arrived on Earth.

Messenger was the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, and since its arrival in March 2011 has been feeding back the best images of the planet that scientists have ever seen.

The principal evidence for water ice comes from the craft’s “neutron spectrometer”, which can detect the subatomic particle neutrons as they stream from Mercury.

“Neutrons are generated when cosmic rays hit a planet,” Sean Solomon, Messenger principal investigator, explained to the Science podcast.

“Hydrogen is the best absorber of neutrons, so a neutron spectrometer looks for the signature of hydrogen near the surface by looking for decrease in the flux of neutrons coming from the planet.”

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