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December 1, 2012
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What do people think of the discovery of ice and organic matter on Mercury?

:iconadelaidejohn1967:
Adelaidejohn1967 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Since the Curiosity probe found nothing juicy or interesting on Mars apart from the traces of once flowing water, there is little excitement to be found on Mars. We know there are polar ice caps but still nothing too get excited about. Now it seems one of their probes has found ice and organic matter in one of the most unlikely places I can imagine the planet Mercury.

[link]

Yes it is not finding life but if this kind of stuff can be found it does raise the hope of life of some kind being found elsewhere, even if its living microbes or simple organisms.

And if we find life everywhere in space what does that make you think?
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:iconleapinglela:
LeapingLela Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well in one rotation on Mercury at night it can be around -300 degrees Fahrenheit(-180 degrees Cecilius) and during the day over 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Cecilius).

Kinda hard to imagine anything that can live in such conditions.
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:icontokyov:
TokyoV Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Coolest thing I've heard all year.
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:iconmapper3:
mapper3 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Student General Artist
What? This is real? Holy shit, that's amazing.
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:iconbacksackandjack:
Backsackandjack Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Surprising more than anything.
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:iconpriteeboy:
priteeboy Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Having the elements of life means little if the conditions aren't right for it. Mercury just couldn't support life, it doesn't even have an atmosphere. What would it breathe? what would protect it from the intense radiation, the freezing night temperatures and boiling day temperatures (maybe not the latter as those areas are always in the dark)

You'd have better luck on Jupiter's Moon Europa, which is frozen on the outside but potentially warm deeper down due to its core being constantly stimulated by the gravity of Jupiter. It is likely one big sphere of water below all that ice, which a rather small rocky centre compared to how big the water and ice make it seems from the outside. And if you could warm up Saturn's moon Titan to a comfortable temperature - that would be the best candidate of all. Mercury would be too much effort to keep anything alive there. Only value it would have to us in the future would be a mining resource :shrug:
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:iconadelaidejohn1967:
Adelaidejohn1967 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Tardigrades can live with little to no air..... Look them up, amazing organisms
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:iconpriteeboy:
priteeboy Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I amazingly must have done so already - the Wikipedia link showed up purple when I googled them :lol: Maybe we've talked about these "water bears" before :nod:

Still, while finding even just a micro-organism on another planet (one that's alive) would be a huge deal, I think what people generally hope for is something a little more complex, even just a jellyfish-like creature or something we can "see" :shrug: Maybe Tardigrades could evolve into something greater once introduced to a new environment though. It was micro-organisms that were the first helpers into making Earth suitable for larger, more complex lifeforms down the track :nod:
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:iconmr-timeshadow:
Mr-Timeshadow Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
It's intriguing, especially on Mercury. We know that the universe creates DNA components on a massive scale in some nebulae, and Titan has a material in its atmosphere that was duplicated when researchers tried adding its atmospheric components to a sealed jar and stimulating them for a few weeks with electricity: amino acids. I will follow this story with great interest.
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:iconadelaidejohn1967:
Adelaidejohn1967 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm thinking something like tardigrades.....Really robust microorganisms that can thrive in the most inhospitable environments.
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:iconmr-timeshadow:
Mr-Timeshadow Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
You might be right...or way off. Who can tell with extraterrestrial material? The beautiful part is that even on Earth, we have a huge variety of lifeforms, as you note, so we will probably be shocked by the form they take elsewhere. What a wonderful time to be alive!
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