Amira Shehata wrote Friday, December 8, 2023 01:00 AM
Scientists revealed that Mercury’s north pole It may have the right conditions to support some form of alien life, as a new study by the Institute for Planetary Research suggests that life could exist within glaciers of salt, hidden beneath the surface of the uninhabitable planet.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, researchers say that there are similar areas on Earth where life exists, despite the harsh conditions.
Dr Alexis Rodriguez, the study’s lead researcher, said: “This line of thinking leads us to consider the possibility that there are regions beneath Mercury’s surface that may be more suitable for living than its harsh surface.”
Also using images from NASA’s MESSENGER probe, researchers examined the geology of Mercury’s north pole, where researchers discovered evidence that salt glaciers may have flowed through the planet’s Raditladi and Eminescu craters.
But these glaciers are not like the ones we know on Earth, and instead of being composed of ice, the glaciers on Mercury are composed of salts that trap volatile compounds such as water, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.
When Mercury collided with space rocks, craters blasted through the outer layer of basalt rock, allowing these volatile compounds to flow out of Earth and form glaciers. As the closest planet to the sun, Mercury reaches a temperature of 806 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius) during the day, which This means that these volatile chemicals have since evaporated.
However, scientists were able to find where the glaciers were located by looking for recognizable features of the ground.
Dr Rodriguez said: “Our models strongly confirm that salt flow likely produced these glaciers, and that after emplacement they retained volatiles for more than a billion years.”
This means that there is likely a vast layer of salt beneath Mercury’s surface, hidden from the Sun’s intense heat and full of volatile compounds that could support life.
Dr. Rodriguez points out that similar habitats were capable of supporting life here on Earth, explaining, “Salt compounds identified on Earth create habitable environments even in some of the extreme environments in which they occur, such as the arid Atacama Desert in Chile.”