It turned out where water could have appeared on Mercury

Scientists know there is water ice in the shadow of the steepest craters around Mercury's poles. But it remained

unclear how these water molecules ended up onplanet. Now a new simulation shows that approaching small bodies such as asteroids, comets and dust particles carry enough water to explain the ice sheets. The study could form the basis for new studies of water in exoplanetary systems. The work was published in the journal Icarus.

The fact that Mercury has water ice for a long timepuzzled scientists. After all, the planet has no atmosphere and is three times closer to the Sun than the Earth. As a result, water can only survive in huge dark craters on the surface of Mercury. However, it is not known how the water molecules ended up there.

The first author of the study, Katerina Frantseva fromThe Netherlands Institute for Space Research at the University of Groningen has developed an algorithm that simulates the impact of asteroids, comets and interplanetary dust particles on the planet's surface. It turns out that for a billion years, these bodies have brought enough water to Mercury to explain the amount that scientists are seeing now.

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