While Curiosity rover is busy on the Red Planet, surprising news arrived from Mercury. The Messenger space probe ( MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) has found new evidence for ice on the planet. It’s very close to the Sun but thanks to its tilted axis, some parts of the planet’s polar craters never see daylight. There, temperatures may be as low as -220 Celsius (-370 Fahrenheit)
The Messenger captured detailed images of the planet’s surface, measuring the craters’ reflectivity and utilizing a neutron spectrometer that discovered the presence of excess hydrogen and helped them come to a conclusion that there’s 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of ice on Mercury.
“if spread over an area the size of Washington, D.C., [the ice] would be more than two miles thick.” Said David Lawrence, a Messenger participating scientist.
Scientists also found slightly warmer regions on Mercury which – brace yourselves – might be temperate enough for a colony.