Temperature profile shows the dark and unstable material – which is a suitable climate for organic life
Institute antraiksa United States (NASA) managed to find evidence of water on Mercury, planet in our solar system that is closest to the Sun.
Temperatures on Mercury can indeed reach 427 degrees Celsius but around the planet’s north pole, in a number of areas that are permanently protected from the hot sun, there is a mixture of ice and a number of organic materials, according to the findings of NASA spacecraft, Messenger.
Gregory Neumann, a scientist at the center who handles Messenger NASA Goddard space flight in Maryland, USA, said NASA will redirect Messenger to observe directly the region in the coming months, when the angle of the sun provides a better room to monitor the ice bag.
Neumann has published its report on Mercury in the journal Science that aired online since 29 November.
The researchers also believe that the south pole of Mercury also contain ice, but the orbital path Messenger does not allow them to observe the area.
Messenger will fly in a spiral pattern, approaching the planet in 2014 and 2015, and when the vehicle has run out of fuel the Sun and Mercury gravity will pull it closer. It was then that the scientists hope to see more clearly the ice at the planet’s surface.
Speculation of water on Mercury has been started since 20 years ago. In 1991 for example, a number of astronomers firing radar signals to Mercury and found the chances of ice at both poles of the planet.
In 1999, using a beam of Arecibo, Puerto Rico Observatorymicrowave astronomers send signals back to the Mercury and received radar reflections in New Mexico shows the “white area” suspected as ice.
Messenger passes Mercury orbit in March 2011 and at the time NASA decided to use a laser altimeter to investigate both the planet’s poles. The results found a number of “bright areas” in polar craters on Mercury.
But more surprising was the discovery of hydrogen by Mercury’s Messenger spectrometer, which showed a large amount of water, but the temperature profile shows a dark and unstable material – which is a suitable climate for organic life.
“It’s very exciting. You are looking for something light and all you get is something dark. This is something new,” Neumann said in awe.
Organic material is sustainer of life, although he does not always prove the existence of life itself.
Further studies will need to determine what the organic material found in the planet, but Neumann said of the studied temperature charts, materials can include amino acids.