PIA19411: Water Ice on Mercury

Water Ice on Mercury


This orthographic projection view provides a look at Mercury's north polar region. The yellow regions in many of the craters mark locations that show evidence for water ice, as detected by Earth-based radar observations from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. MESSENGER has collected compelling new evidence that the deposits are indeed water ice, including imaging within the permanently shaded interiors of some of the craters, such as Prokofiev and Fuller .

Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Arecibo Radar Image: In yellow (Harmon et al., 2011, Icarus 211, 37-50)

Background Info:

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end , as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury in April 2015.

For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Mercury
Target Type Planet
Mission MESSENGER National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC)
Instrument Host MESSENGER Arecibo Observatory
Host Type Orbiter Ground-Based Observatory
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Arecibo Radar
Extra Keywords Color, Crater, Impact, Radar, Radio, Water
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2015-04-16
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19411
Identifier PIA19411