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April 30 2013

This spot on Mercury (almost) never goes dark


Mercury, traveling in its 88-day-long orbit around the Sun with basically zero axial tilt, has many craters at its poles whose insides literally never see the light of day. These permanently-shadowed locations have been found by the MESSENGER mission to harbor considerable deposits of ice (a seemingly ironic discovery on a planet two-and-a-half times closer to the Sun than we are!*).

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