Water ice may occur at the bottoms of craters in Mercury's poles, according to new evidence. Although Mercury is the nearest planet to the Sun and may be extremely hot on much of its surface, ice may persist in the bottoms of some polar craters due to the crater edges casting permanent shadows on the crater floors. As a result, these frozen craters would be similar to those found at the South Pole on Earth.
Ice has been observed by several spacecraft overlying many large volcanoes on Mercury. It appears that volcanic activity is generally confined to single regions, rather than being distributed more evenly like on Earth, so there must be some other cause for the distribution of volcanoes across Mercury's surface. One possibility is that they are formed where the rock is particularly rich in iron, which would make it easier for an explosive eruption to occur. A second possibility is that they are caused by differences in depth below the surface: if this is the case, then perhaps the layer of ice underpins a deeper reservoir of liquid mercury.
It has been suggested that the presence of ice at the bottom of some polar craters might be evidence that Mercury had a past as a moon of Venus. The idea is that when Venus exploded as a result of the solar wind, it may have thrown Mercury into orbit around the Sun. However, this scenario can't account for all features on Mercury's surface, such as the relatively even distribution of volcanic material.
Mercury, the nearest planet to the Sun, may contain at least 100 billion tons of ice in perpetually shadowed craters near its north pole, according to NASA scientists. While there is no firm proof of liquid water on Mercury, it may exist under the planet's ice. Scientists using data from the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) found strong evidence that mercury has a core of iron and nickel surrounded by a crust of gold-colored silicon oxide.
Liquid water is necessary for life as we know it. There are several ways in which Mercury might have sustained surface conditions suitable for life including continuous volcanic activity, lightning strikes, and meteorite impacts. A thick carbon dioxide atmosphere would have frozen over most of the planet, so any water present on Mercury today must be subterranean.
It is possible that some of this water is in a fluid state below its freezing point, but most studies assume that it is frozen. It is known that certain substances can cause liquids to vaporize or freeze without changing their overall composition, which means that some compounds may be present in both solid and liquid forms within Mercury's interior. For example, magnesium occurs in both solid and liquid forms above 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).
Magnesium acts as a catalyst in many chemical reactions and is important in biological processes such as muscle contraction and bone growth.
The north and south poles of Mercury are the ideal areas to look for water ice. Because Mercury does not tilt like Earth, its poles never fully face the Sun. Craters with thick walls might remain entirely black, never seeing the light. But if one digs down deep enough, some have reported finding ice at their feet.
Water can be extracted from mercury using a process called vaporization/condensation/vaporization again. First, the mercury is cooled until it's solid. Then, an electric current is passed through it, which causes any moisture in the air around it to condense into liquid droplets that can be collected. Finally, the metal is heated again, this time up to 300 degrees Celsius (570 degrees Fahrenheit), at which point the water vaporizes off the surface back into the atmosphere.
This is not very efficient for making water, but it does show that mercury has a rich history of being used as a medium for storing energy. The same process can be used to extract oil from rock, which is how oil wells work. However, there is no evidence that anyone has ever done this with mercury instead of other materials because it is impossible to filter out oil from water. They would need a way to separate out the oil from the water, which has not been possible so far.
In conclusion, yes, you can get water from mercury.
Even though Mercury's daytime temperatures may reach 750 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius), ice can form in craters that are shaded from the sun. There, the surface is exposed to chilly space at around minus 330 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 200 C).
When sunlight hits the dark surface of Mercury, most of it is reflected back out to space. Only a small fraction reaches the planet's surface. At these latitudes, this means that only about 1 percent of the energy that arrives at Mercury's surface each day comes from the sun; the rest comes from radioactive decay. The amount of solar power received per square meter averages about 1/10th that on Earth.
As a result, any water present on Mercury's surface will freeze during its first two years, when the planet is still warming up from its last major collision. After that, as it approaches equilibrium with its environment, the ice will melt again, leaving behind the chemical traces we call "mercury."
The presence of mercury on both Venus and Mercury suggests that it must be common throughout the Solar System. It could have been delivered by meteoroids or comets, or perhaps even by extraterrestrial organisms.
Venus and Mercury are very different planets but they share the same elemental make-up as Earth. This tells us that the elements were probably distributed by collisions between objects such as rocks and comets.