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NASA discovers ice on Mercury, trace amounts of organic material

November 30, 2012

NASA discovers ice on Mercury, trace amounts of organic material

Mercury has ice — lots of it.

NASA announced Wednesday that its MESSENGER orbiter has discovered ice on Mercury, a discovery that raises the prospects of finding the building blocks of life on other planets and moons in the solar system.

In a statement released by the U.S. space agency on Thursday, NASA officials explained the finding saying an estimated one-hundred billion tons of ice may like litter the bottoms of craters scattered across the planet nearest to the sun. The ice, which NASA scientists say is likely made up of water, is located deep within a series of Mercury craters located near the north pole. It is believed the south pole harbors ice as well, though there are no hard data to support it. The MESSENGER team estimates that the planet could hold upwards of one trillion tons of ice.

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