NASA has just announced that MESSENGER, the first spacecraft to orbitMercury, has confirmed the presence of ice covered by an unknown organic material inside craters near the planet’s north pole – two major building blocks for life!
One current theory is that the ice and organic material could have been delivered to Mercury aboard an asteroidor comet perhaps hundreds of millions of years ago. Of course there’s a lot of painstaking research involved in the findings, as well as other details about this and other theories, so you can get the full story here.
But that’s crazy, right? How could there be ice on the closest planet to the sun? It turns out the deep craters shade anything inside from the sun’s rays, keeping the temperature cool enough to allow ice to form. It’s even possible that liquid water exists on the planet somewhere under the ice!
NASA is still talking about the discovery in their live feed here (it repeats every so often):