SALT LAKE CITY – NASA scientists announced on Thursday that they has discovered more proof of a long-held theory of frozen water on Mercury.
NASA says the frozen water was found on Mercury’s north pole by the MESSENGER – or MErcury Surface, Space Environment, GEochemistry and Ranging – spacecraft.
MESSENGER was launched in 2004 to investigate the characteristics and environment of Mercury, which is important to the investigation into the history of the inner planets, including Earth.
Although Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, its rotational axis is less than one degree, which means there are areas near the planet’s poles that never see sunlight and temperatures there can reach levels far below freezing.
Three independent papers providing evidence of the existence of frozen water were published on Thursday in “Science Express.”
According to a news release from NASA, the studies focused on excessive hydrogen present at Mercury’s north pole, investigated the reflectivity of Mercury’s polar deposits and enabled the detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of Mercury’s north polar regions.