An ancient magma ocean on Mercury?

Mercury as seen by the MESSENGER spacecraft. Did an ancient magma ocean once cover its surface? Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Mercury as seen by the MESSENGER spacecraft. Did an ancient magma ocean once cover its surface? Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

As we have explored the solar system, we have found evidence for different kinds of oceans. Earth of course has its water oceans, while some icy moons like Europa have subsurface water oceans and Saturn’s largest moon Titan has seas and lakes of liquid methane.

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Organic-covered ice deposits discovered on Mercury

Map showing the location of the radar-bright ice deposits discovered by the MESSENGER spacecraft at Mercury’s north pole. Credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Carnegie Institution of Washington / National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory

Well, who would have thought? Water ice on¬†Mercury, that scorched little planet closest to the Sun? That’s just what scientists have found, as well as organic material, at Mercury’s north pole, it was announced yesterday.

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MESSENGER update

Until now, the innermost and smallest planet, Mercury, had been relatively unexplored apart from the brief flyby by Mariner 10 in the 1970s. But the orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft is changing that, revealing new details about this little world. New images … Read More…