Forget Mars, NASA Probe Finds Ice and Organics on Mercury!
By: Andrew Cary
NASA has just announced that MESSENGER, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, has confirmed the presence of ice covered by an unknown organic material inside craters near the planet's north pole - two major building blocks for life!
One current theory is that the ice and organic material could have been delivered to Mercury aboard an asteroid or comet perhaps hundreds of millions of years ago. Of course there’s a lot of painstaking research involved in the findings, as well as other details about this and other theories, so you can get the full story here.
But that's crazy, right? How could there be ice on the closest planet to the sun? It turns out the deep craters shade anything inside from the sun's rays, keeping the temperature cool enough to allow ice to form. It's even possible that liquid water exists on the planet somewhere under the ice!
NASA is still talking about the discovery in their live feed here (it repeats every so often):
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So is the planet Mercury home to alien life? It will take a lot more investigation to answer that question for sure. Even if it doesn't, it may still provide clues for how Earth's life forms got started. Perhaps our organic material came over through a visiting comet or asteroid too.
Today's news has a lot of people wondering...Are We Alone? Lucky for us, SCIENCE is airing a 2 hour special about just that on Friday night at 8/7c!
Photo Credit: NASA