Red-Hot Mercury Harbors A Cool Surprise! - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Red-Hot Mercury Harbors A Cool Surprise!

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com

YAHOO.COM - NASA's Messenger spacecraft has discovered evidence that the planet Mercury has enough ice on its surface to encase Washington, D.C., in a block two and a half miles deep.

"For more than 20 years the jury has been deliberating on whether the planet closest to the Sun hosts abundant water ice in its permanently shadowed polar regions," writes Sean Solomon of the Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the principal investigator of the Messenger mission. The spacecraft "has now supplied a unanimous affirmative verdict."

"These reflectance anomalies are concentrated on poleward-facing slopes and are spatially collocated with areas of high radar backscatter postulated to be the result of near-surface water ice," Gregory Neumann of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center writes in the paper. "Correlation of observed reflectance with modeled temperatures indicates that the optically bright regions are consistent with surface water ice."

The study results were published on Wednesday in Science magazine, which explains in its summary, "The buried layer must be nearly pure water ice. The upper layer contains less than 25 wt.% water-equivalent hydrogen. The total mass of water at Mercury's poles is inferred to be 2 × 1016 to 1018 g and is consistent with delivery by comets or volatile-rich asteroids."

Radar imaging of Mercury has long suggested that there could be large deposits on the planet's surface, with reports dating to 1991. But today's report presents harder evidence supporting that theory.

Messenger has fired more than 10 million laser imaging pulses at Mercury's surface since arriving in its orbit in 2011. Feedback from those pulses have helped NASA in its quest to verify whether ice is present in Mercury's poles, which are largely shielded from exposure to the sun's rays.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane sex trafficking victim gets second chance as shop owner

    Spokane sex trafficking victim gets second chance as shop owner

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 8:42 PM EDT2018-09-19 00:42:17 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - From the outside, the Repeat Boutique looks like a lot of other thrift shops in Spokane.  Inside, some might describe the stuff for sale as old, used, discarded garbage -- but store manager CJ Curtis sees its potential. And just like the goods in her shop, CJ is on her way to a new life, one far from the one she once lived. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - From the outside, the Repeat Boutique looks like a lot of other thrift shops in Spokane.  Inside, some might describe the stuff for sale as old, used, discarded garbage -- but store manager CJ Curtis sees its potential. And just like the goods in her shop, CJ is on her way to a new life, one far from the one she once lived. 

    >>
  • Police impersonator attempts to pull over Spokane woman

    Police impersonator attempts to pull over Spokane woman

    Monday, September 17 2018 8:45 PM EDT2018-09-18 00:45:37 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He told me to pull over, and my jaw just dropped," a Spokane woman, who says a fake police officer tried to pull her over, doesn't want to be named. In fear, this could happen again. "It really scared me and kind of threw me off that night. I don't even want to drive by myself anymore," she said. She tells me that she was driving around North Spokane at night on her way home from work. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He told me to pull over, and my jaw just dropped," a Spokane woman, who says a fake police officer tried to pull her over, doesn't want to be named. In fear, this could happen again. "It really scared me and kind of threw me off that night. I don't even want to drive by myself anymore," she said. She tells me that she was driving around North Spokane at night on her way home from work. 

    >>
  • Tennessee boy shoots, kills mom's husband during fight

    Tennessee boy shoots, kills mom's husband during fight

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 10:52 AM EDT2018-09-19 14:52:53 GMT

    Authorities in eastern Tennessee say a 12-year-old boy shot and killed his mother's husband during a domestic dispute.    News outlets report 56-year-old Kevron Thomas "Tommy" Durham was shot twice with a rifle Saturday night. A release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson says authorities had received at least five previous calls from the home for domestic violence, although none resulted in criminal charges. 

    >>

    Authorities in eastern Tennessee say a 12-year-old boy shot and killed his mother's husband during a domestic dispute.    News outlets report 56-year-old Kevron Thomas "Tommy" Durham was shot twice with a rifle Saturday night. A release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson says authorities had received at least five previous calls from the home for domestic violence, although none resulted in criminal charges. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/