Thursday, March 30, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Ice and organic materials found on Mercury


Posted on Friday, 30 November, 2012 | Comment icon 13 comments | News tip by: Socio


Image credit: NASA

 
NASA's Messenger probe has revealed frozen organic materials on the closest planet to the sun.

Mercury might be the last place you'd expect to find ice but on the dark side of the planet where the sun never shines NASA has discovered not only ice but frozen organic materials similar to coal or tar. It is believed that these were dumped there by a comet at some point in the past and preserved in the ice. "It's not something we expected to see, but then of course you realize it kind of makes sense because we see this in other places," said scientist David Paige.

It is very unlikely that life would have ever developed on Mercury, however the discovery could help us to piece together the circumstances surrounding the emergence of life on Earth. "Finding a place in the inner solar system where some of these same ingredients that may have led to life on Earth are preserved for us is really exciting," said Paige.

"Despite searing daytime temperatures, Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, has ice and frozen organic materials inside permanently shadowed craters in its north pole, NASA scientists said on Thursday."

  View: Full article |  Source: Chicago Tribune

  Discuss: View comments (13)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Coffey on 30 November, 2012, 12:48
Organics shouldn't be a surprise really. The problem is that people associate organics with life, that is not the case. Organic (in chemical terms) just means a molecule containing carbon. In Victorian times it was believed that all organic molecules were formed by living things, we now know that not to be the case, in fact the reverse is true; life arose from organic molecules. Makes me wonder about how they label "organic" food now... lol
Comment icon #5 Posted by 27vet on 30 November, 2012, 13:02
There may well be a few places on Mercury where the temperature can support life. Perhaps in a few decades they will send a surface probe there.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 30 November, 2012, 13:30
Water is everywhere I guess except on Stars. This fact seems to surprise people too, but it shouldn't. Water is an extremely simple molecule. Given that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and oxygen the third most (second is helium which is extremely inert) then it follows that water should be one of the most common molecules in the universe. Makes me wonder about how they label "organic" food now... lol Different usage if the word "organic", nothing to do with chemistry at all. There may well be a few places on Mercury where the temperature can support life. Perhaps in a fe... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Coffey on 30 November, 2012, 14:45
Different usage if the word "organic", nothing to do with chemistry at all. Was just a joke...
Comment icon #8 Posted by Taun on 30 November, 2012, 18:53
Waspie... I remember as a kid in science class (back in the early 60's) there was talk that Mercury had a 'twilight zone'... a narrow band that seperated the day side from the night side - since Mercury was tidally locked to the sun, this area was thought to have tolerable temperatures in spots... Of course sci-fi got ahold of that and there were some entertaining tales told of life in the twilight zone... Later of course I learned that this was not the case... sad really, a habitable twilight zone would have been pretty awesome...
Comment icon #9 Posted by DONTEATUS on 1 December, 2012, 2:35
Look to IO for Life ! THats where it all is !
Comment icon #10 Posted by DKO on 2 December, 2012, 1:40
Guess i'm a little naive. I took organic as meaning life, got really excited when I clicked on the link haha. Thanks for clarifying Waspy.
Comment icon #11 Posted by 747400 on 2 December, 2012, 14:57
it's very interesting, isn't it. Water and oxygen potentially everywhere. Even if Mercury isn't exactly conducive, and even if Mars may not have enough water or atmosphere, then surely there's potential for all sorts of interesting discoveries in this, our very own solar system, before we even need to think about extrasolar planets. And to think that there are still people who smugly say "we know for a fact that there couldn't possibly be any life in our Solar system".
Comment icon #12 Posted by 27vet on 2 December, 2012, 15:10
Extraordinarily unlikely. Mercury has even less chance of supporting life than the Moon (and the Moon's chances are as close to zero as makes no odds). The only areas where water can survive are the craters near the pole. These are in eternal darkness and the temperature will be far to cold for any kind of chemical reactions need for even the most basic life. The rest of Mercury is either baked or frozen solid (depending on whether the Sun is above the horizon). The atmosphere (if you can call it that) is so tenuous that it can only be detected by very sensitive instruments and consists mostly... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by joc on 2 December, 2012, 16:18
Life is found all over the Planet Earth. From the deepest ocean bottom, to the highest peaks, from the desert to the frozen tundra, in pools of water deep within caves, where there is no light. So, you have an extremely uninhabitable temperature on the surface of Mercury. And at the poles, we find ice. Is it possible that a 'happy medium' exists where life might thrive there? Somewhere, at some point it would seem to me that there is a location, maybe only a few square inches in area, where ice is actually water, where a very limited source of life could develop. Do you think it inconceivable ... [More]


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
'Miraculous' find of rare tigers in Thailand
3-30-2017
Scientists have confirmed the discovery of ten ultra-rare Indochinese tigers in Thailand's eastern jungle.
Man eats pancakes in the middle of the road
3-29-2017
A prankster was charged this week after being filmed tucking in to pancakes at a busy intersection.
Statue of King Tut's grandmother unearthed
3-29-2017
A rare alabaster carving of Queen Tiye has been discovered along the west bank of the River Nile.
Firm plans to build upside-down skyscraper
3-29-2017
The bizarre plan would see the world's tallest building being hung upside-down from an orbiting asteroid.
Other news in this category
Trump signs new bill to send humans to Mars
Posted 3-22-2017 | 11 comments
$19.5 billion has been authorized to support a renewed commitment to NASA's manned space program....
 
Blue fireball lights up the sky over Sweden
Posted 3-21-2017 | 4 comments
People from several towns across the country reported witnessing the spectacle at 9:30pm on Monday night....
 
Stephen Hawking is planning to go in to space
Posted 3-20-2017 | 1 comment
The celebrated physicist has described journeying in to outer space as his 'ultimate ambition'....
 
Mars Base Camp mission could launch by 2028
Posted 3-19-2017 | 2 comments
NASA partner Lockheed Martin is planning an ambitious mission to put astronauts into orbit around Mars....
 
NASA could use the Sun as a magnifying glass
Posted 3-18-2017 | 12 comments
Scientists at JPL have come up with an ambitious new plan to get a better look at extrasolar planets....
 
Older galaxies had a lot less dark matter
Posted 3-18-2017 | 10 comments
Scientists have discovered that dark matter played a much smaller role in galaxies in the early universe....
 
X-37B space plane is nearing orbital record
Posted 3-17-2017 | 3 comments
The US Air Force's mysterious space plane is on track to break the mission duration record of 674 days....
 
Enceladus may be an ideal place to find life
Posted 3-15-2017 | 5 comments
New data from Cassini has suggested that Enceladus' liquid water ocean may be very close to its surface....
 
NASA ordered to send humans to Mars by 2033
Posted 3-13-2017 | 11 comments
The space agency has been given a set of ambitious new goals which include a manned mission to Mars....
 
Missing Moon probe found after eight years
Posted 3-12-2017 | 2 comments
A new radar technique has made it possible to locate a derelict spacecraft in orbit around the Moon....
 
Orbiting lunar 'spaceport' planned for 2020s
Posted 3-11-2017 | 6 comments
A space station could be placed in cis-lunar orbit to act as a stepping-stone towards a trip to Mars....
 

 View: More news in this category
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ