How Mercury’s Intense Heat Helps the Formation of Ice

We should consider ourselves very lucky for not being closer to the Sun as Venus or Mercury are. Our planet is in the exact region where life can develop itself. Venus and Mercury are two hellish worlds where temperatures are sky rocking, and no life can possibly emerge there.

But today we’ll focus our attention to Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. This planet is small and ‘angry’ since it’s very hot – around 400 degrees Celsius at its surface.

Temperatures way below zero at night

It may be surprising for many people, but Mercury also has temperatures way below zero at night. This small planet is not rotating like Earth, therefore it has eternal night on one side, and perpetual daytime on the other side. Mercury also has large portions of ice.

While the ice is normally formed by asteroids and comets bringing it from space, a recent study made by a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology shows that some of Mercury’s ice was made exactly by the intense heat of the little planet.

How is it possible

As it sounds absolutely impossible for most people, it really is possible for ice to emerge as an outcome of high temperatures.

The minerals from the soil contain metal oxides, and they are bombarded by charged proton particles brought by the solar wind. The outcome is the formation of molecular hydrogen, bound hydroxyls, and water. Due to the extreme heat and lack of air, H20 molecules would be deliberate from the surface.

The researchers are stating in their paper:

Water formed from this mechanism will inevitably amass in the cold PSRs and will contribute significant amounts to the surface of Mercury over geological time periods,

The discovery of ice on Mercury and how it can form due to heat is another strong reason to believe that our solar system is unique.

The new findings were published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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