New observations from NASA’s MESSENGER interplanetary station, were convincing proof of the hypothesis of the presence of water ice and other frozen materials in permanently shadowed craters at the poles of Mercury.
As many as three independent lines of evidence to support this conclusion. The first is the measurements of excess hydrogen at the north pole of Mercury with a neutron spectrometer. Second, measuring the reflectivity of the deposits at the poles in the near-infrared region of the spectrum with a laser altimeter MLA. And finally, the third, a detailed model of the surface and near-surface temperatures of the northern polar regions. These findings are presented in three articles published in Science Express.
Given its proximity to the Sun, the discovery of water on the surface, is unlikely. But the slope of the axis of rotation of Mercury has almost no (less than one degree), so some pockets on the poles of the planet hardly see sunlight. For decades, there are hypotheses of water ice and other frozen material at the poles of Mercury.
Investigated polar reservoir contains a hydrogen-rich surface layer of 10-20 cm, which contain less hydrogen "- written by David Lawrence of commands MESSENGER." Content inner layer corresponds substantially pure water. "This is consistent with the theory that the ice these areas covered by a layer of thermally insulating material.
"For over 20 years we have studied the question of having abundant reserves of water ice on the shadowed polar regions of the closest planet to the Sun. Messenger allows you to make an unambiguous positive verdict."