After months of hullabaloo over the Curiosity rover's Martian activities, its nice to see Mercury getting a little love. NASA has announced that its Messenger probe, which has collected more than 100,000 images of Mercury since its launch in 2004, found evidence of "abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials" on the planet closest to the sun.
NASA's release explains:
While the discovery of water doesn't necessarily mean we'll be greeting aliens from Mercury anytime soon, NASA's scientists are interested in a possibly organic material coating the ice.
"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. It will take further study to figure out exactly what this material is, but Neumann said the early temperature curves could show organic materials such as amino acids." Space.com's Elizabeth Howell reports.