Moon, Mercury may contain more water ice than thought

  1. According to a new analysis of data from NASA’s LRO and MESSENGER spacecraft, Earth’s Moon and Mercury (the closest planet to Sun) may contain significantly more water ice than previously thought
  2. The potential ice deposits are found in craters near the poles of Moon and Mercury. The poles of Mercury and the Moon are among the coldest places in the solar system.
  3. Unlike Earth, the spin axes of Mercury and the Moon are oriented such that, in their polar regions, the Sun never rises high above the horizon.
  4. Consequently, polar topographic depressions, such as impact craters (formed when meteoroids or comets impact the surface) remain permanently shadowed
  5. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a NASA robotic spacecraft which orbits the Moon in an eccentric polar mapping orbit.
  6. MESSENGER – the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging spacecraft is NASA robotic spacecraft that orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015. It is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.