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NASA: Mercury harbors ice, craft with CU-built instrument finds

1:46 PM, Nov 29, 2012   |    comments
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Scientists announced Thursday that the orbiting probe, Messenger, has found evidence of frozen water, even though Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. The ice is located in the permanently shadowed region of Mercury's north pole. It's thought to be at least one-and-a-half feet deep - and possibly as much as 65 feet deep.

Scientists say it's likely Mercury's south pole also has ice, though there are no data to support it. Messenger orbits much closer to the north pole than the south.

Radar measurements, for years, have suggested the presence of ice. Now scientists know for a fact.

Messenger is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. It was launched in 2004.

According to the Daily Camera, the spacecraft is carrying the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer, which was designed and built at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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