Mercury, as everyone knows, is the planet in the Solar System that orbits closest to the Sun and, although it is not the one that records the highest temperatures in our cosmic neighborhood – the record holder is Venus, with almost 470 ° C -, he marks near a scorching 430 ° C on the surface during the day. However, while it seems impossible, observations have revealed that there are deposits of ice on Mercury and, according to a study presented by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA, the very heat of the Mercury environment contributes to this.
Due to its proximity to the Sun, Mercury is practically devoid of atmosphere and, due to this, the heat ends up not being well distributed throughout the planet. In this way, the poles remain relatively cold and there are craters in these regions that never receive any sunshine. So much so that, according to estimates, temperatures inside these structures can reach -180 ° C and accumulate large amounts of ice. How? This is where the study of Georgian people comes in.
According to the research, protons emitted by the Sun reach the surface of Mercury, triggering the formation of minerals in the soil of the hydroxyl group or OH. So, the intense heat, resulting from the proximity that exists between the planet and the star, causes these minerals to be energized and released – and the collision between them leads to the formation of water and hydrogen molecules.
Much of the water molecules end up being broken due to the extreme conditions of Mercury, but a portion ends up accumulating inside the craters present in the Mercury poles, where the cold and the lack of sunshine offer the ideal conditions for the formation of ice.
In fact, a lot of ice! That’s because, according to scientists’ estimates, over a period of 3 million years, this process would contribute to the production of 10 billion tons of the substance – or the equivalent of about 10% of all Mercury’s ice. The remaining 90% would reach the planet through the impact of asteroids that, in addition to being able to contain water, would trigger chemical reactions resulting in the formation of the material with the collision.