Ice may cover parts of Mercury

The planet closest to the sun appears to have more ice at its poles than does Earth's moon, say scientists analyzing data from the Messenger spacecraft.

Despite their proximity to the sun, portions of the surface of Mercury appear to be covered in ice, scientists said Thursday after analyzing about 20,000 new images of the solar system's smallest planet.

The pictures beamed to Earth by the Messenger spacecraft strongly suggest that frozen water — and perhaps other frozen substances — coat portions of impact craters near the planet's north and south poles. Permanently enshrouded in shadow, these surfaces are typically 300 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

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