View Full Version : MESSENGER Provides New Insights on Mercury

2008-Jul-03, 07:10 PM
Data from the MESSENGER spacecraft's first flyby of Mercury in January of 2008 are now turning into science results. Several scientists discussed their findings at a press conference today highlighting the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging mission, the first spacecraft to visit Mercury since NASA's Mariner 10 made three flyby passes [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/07/03/messenger-provides-new-insights-on-mercury/)

2008-Jul-04, 12:59 AM
[...] where's it come from if its sputtered of the surface via the solar wind?

Planetary Society: Planetary News: MESSENGER Scientists 'Astonished' to Find Water in Mercury's Thin Atmosphere (http://planetary.org/news/2008/0703_MESSENGER_Scientists_Astonished_to.html)

Zurburchen listed three possibilities, which are not mutually exclusive. Firstly, it has long been theorized (but not yet proved) from Earth-based radar observations that there may be reservoirs of water ice in small areas of Mercury's poles where local topography creates permanently shadowed spots in crater walls that might trap water over the age of the solar system. Second, the water could come from comets. Third, the process of chemical sputtering could create water where none existed before from the ingredients of solar wind and Mercury rock, as Zurburchen explains.

Or Zurburchen is wrong and the signal has yet another origin.

2008-Jul-04, 02:43 AM
Hydrous minerals on Mercury?

2008-Jul-04, 06:19 PM
Mercury has a density similar to that of earth, but unlike Earth, has a weak magnetic field. Maybe the paucity of iron in the surficial rocks indicates that there is a small amount of iron in Mercury's core. This would account for the weak magnetic field. The core might be largely nickel to create the planet's density.