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 (14)