Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Mercury shows best kept secrets
Mercury place in foreign hidden craters, volcanic nature has an powerful, large amount of sulfur and convulses with energy blasts. These are the first findings of the data obtained by NASA's Messenger probe.
After nearly three months orbiting Mercury, this device has sent to Earth new data-with some surprises, on the composition of the Solar System planet closest to the Sun. The probe entered orbit around Mercury on March 18 and thus became the first spacecraft to achieve.
Since then the Earth has sent tens of thousands of accurate images of some parts of the world, previously only seen in low resolution, and data from its X-ray spectrometer and laser altimeter. "This has allowed gathering more information on the chemical composition of Mercury and has provided important clues about its origin and geological evolution," the U.S. space agency said on its website.
Oddities in the craters
Something that caught the attention of NASA scientists is that some of the craters on the planet possess abundant deposits of colored uneven and deep. These holes are usually surrounded by material diffuse edges that refracts bright.
Brett Denevi, one of the project scientists said on this curiosity: "It's something we have not seen before on Mercury or the Moon. Still are trying to understand their origin and composition." "But what we can say is that they are quite recent and suggest that Mercury's crust has a volatile element in a greater abundance than previously thought," he added.
Moreover, the X-ray spectrometer one of several instruments carrying the Messenger probe, has made important findings about soil composition of Mercury, NASA said. "These discoveries are a major breakthrough in understanding the nature of Mercury and look forward to many more. We expect more surprises"
The planet has high concentrations of magnesium, silicon, aluminum and calcium in large areas. The researchers said that this shows that Mercury's surface is dominated by rocks felsdespato, as happens with the soil of the moon (the heavenly body with which is often compared to the dryness and the profusion of craters). The X-ray spectrometer also revealed that the planet has large amounts of sulfur, which supports theories about the presence of sulfides.
This, in other words, suggests that the "bricks" that was built with Mercury have been oxidized less than other planets, which would confirm the volcanic nature of Mercury.
Ice and energy
The probe laser altimeter Messenger enabled, at once, draws a detailed topographic map of the northern hemisphere of Mercury. The polar region: mountains and craters that may contain deposits of water.
The new letter revealed that the North Polar Region is a large area with low elevation. There, the images also show craters with permanent shadows in the background, it is believed, are ice deposits. Another conclusion that took astronomers is that Mercury's magnetic field is produced intense bursts of energy.
They explained that this is due to the interaction between the planet's magnetosphere and solar wind."These discoveries are a major breakthrough in understanding the nature of Mercury and look forward to many more," said lead researcher Sean Solomon. "We can expect more surprises as the planet to the Sun crane reveals long-kept secrets."
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