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Mercury could be hiding signs of life beneath exotic salt glaciers, new study claims

Published Nov 22nd, 2023 6:17PM EST
The Planet Mercury
Image: Claudio Caridi / Adobe

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Scientists have made quite the discovery on Mercury. As the planet closest to our Sun, Mercury is an intriguing planet, especially when you think about the possibility of what the surface of the small world looks like. Now, scientists believe that Mercury could be home to exotic glaciers of salt and that life on Mercury could be hiding beneath those glaciers.

It isn’t entirely unreasonable to think that Mercury might be home to glaciers of salt, especially considering that certain salt compounds here on Earth can crate habitable niches within some of the most hostile environments. “This line of thinking leads us to ponder the possibility of subsurface areas on Mercury that might be more hospitable than its harsh surface,” Alexis Rodriguez, lead author of a new study, explained in a statement.

huge solar eruption from bright sun on dark background
Mercury is the closest planet to our Sun, but a new study suggests life could exist deep below its surface. Image source: lukszczepanski/Adobe

This new line of thinking greatly challenges the long-held theory that Mercury is primarily devoid of any kind of life or volatiles. With this new theory, though, it’s possible that VRLs, which stands for volatile-rich layers, could be in abundance on the planet, hidden deep beneath the inhospitable surface.

It is an intriguing idea and one that the researchers behind the new study, which is published in the Planetary Science Journal, hope will gain traction going forward. Of course, proving the existence of these VRLs and the hidden life on Mercury that they could be hiding is a whole different story. But that doesn’t mean that it is impossible.

Proving the existence of life on other planets has always been a tricky thing, even with the new technological advancements that drive modern astronomy research. But to factually prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that life exists beneath the unlivable surface of Mercury would be quite an accomplishment. Perhaps these researchers are onto something. I suppose only time and more research will really tell.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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