NASA: Mercury craft shows ice at north pole

Friday, November 30, 2012

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

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

For years, radar measurements have suggested the presence of ice.

Now scientists know for a fact.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: