Mercury's polar ice formation

Mercury's polar ice formation

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Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mercury's polar ice formation. Computer illustration illustrating the formation of Mercury's polar ice deposits. (A) High-latitude impact crater lit by angled Sun rays creates a region of very warm temperatures on the rim, with lower temperatures on the floor, and extremely cold temperatures in regions of permanent shadow. (B) A comet or water-rich asteroid containing organic compounds impacts Mercury. (C) The water and organic compounds are spread over a wide region with a small fraction migrating to the poles where they become cold-trapped as ices. (D) Over time, water ice in the warmer regions vaporises, leaving more stable organic impurities at the surface. (E) The ice retreats further to a stable long-term configuration. In the coldest areas, water

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Keywords: artwork, asteroid, astronomical, astronomy, cold, comet, cosmological, cosmology, crater, deposit, deposits, distribution, formation, illustration, impact, mercury, no-one, nobody, planet, planetary science, polar ice, pole, poles, shadow, solar system, space, sunlight, sunlit, temperature, temperatures, warm, water-rich

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