After building us up and letting us down easy about that alleged discovery "for the history books" from Curiosity, NASA has announced the next best thing in space right now: we found water ice on Mercury. And a lot of it. Here's the ongoing very scientific talk about what exactly they found (you've been warned — there's plenty of talk about waveform and neutron talk):
Today's discovery and confirmation of water ice put to rest a decades-long suspicion that the planet's north pole housed deposits of water. "NASA's Messenger spacecraft found a mix of frozen water and possible organic material," reports Space.com's Elizabeth Howell. Of course the big question with water and organic material is that they're the building blocks of life (aliens!), and though they don't signify life, they're pretty essential to it. "Researchers are now working to determine if they indeed saw organics on Mercury. So far, they suspect Mercury's water ice is coated with a 4-inch (10 centimeters) blanket of 'thermally insulating material,'" writes Howell.
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