NASA's Messenger captures first photos of ice on Mercury

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James Trew
October 16th, 2014
In this article: ice, images, mercury, messenger, nasa, space
NASA's Messenger captures first photos of ice on Mercury

It's easy to assume, that finding ice on the first rock from the sun, would be like finding a snowflake in a furnace (it can reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit after all). But, you'd be wrong. And NASA's long had radar and photographic proof (just nothing in the visual range) that water ice did exist on the planet. Now, we have the first optical evidence -- after pictures snapped by the NASA's Messenger spacecraft managed to snag enough sunlight inside the 70 mile-wide, permanently-shadowed Prokofiev crater on the north pole of the planet for a photo. The images might not look like much to the untrained eye (though still wonderfully otherworldly), but they provide those that know with enough information to suggest that the ice deposits are relatively recent (and not from when the planet was being formed). No doubt, more revelations will come as the images get scrutinized fruther, and Messenger continues the good work.

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