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There may be life on Mercury

Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, may be suitable for the origin of life. This unexpected conclusion was made by specialists from the Institute of Planetary Science, who believe that this tiny world has everything necessary for the emergence of microorganisms. However, although the planet is rich in its virtually inexhaustible energy reserves, the likelihood of life on it has long been considered absurd. But what happens if the hypothesis of American scientists turns out to be correct?

Could life arise on Mercury?

Although Mercury is a very inhospitable place for humans, in the thin atmosphere of the planet there are three of the most important components for the emergence of life – water, oxygen and methane, according to futurism.com. In addition, the surface of the planet, completely covered with cracks, may indicate the presence of volatile substances on the planet – elements that can quickly change from one state to another, as, for example, a liquid does, which under the influence of high temperatures and pressure turns into a gas. So, if volatile substances are indeed found on the planet one day, the bold statement of scientists from the Institute of Planetary Science about the presence of life on Mercury may turn out to be quite plausible.

Volatile substances such as water can provide a favorable environment for life below the surface of the planet, even in the presence of high temperatures outside. Water can also protect local life from solar radiation, bombarding Mercury every second. However, despite the positive views of scientists, one of the main problems for life on the planet closest to the Sun can be extremely low atmospheric pressure, because of which Mercury is famous not only for its sharp temperature drops from -200 to +430 degrees, but also poor protection against the solar wind – a stream of charged particles that destroy the surface layer of this unfriendly world for terrestrial organisms. But who said that local life must necessarily be similar to ours?

Although all the hypotheses put forward regarding Mercury currently remain just unconfirmed theories, there is still a chance that the simplest life may be hiding in the bowels of a scorched planet. The discovery of alien life on the planet closest to the Sun is hindered by the Sun itself: making all observations difficult, our luminary turns Mercury into one of the least studied planets in the solar system. Only a couple of past missions have allowed mankind to get acquainted with the appearance of the Mercury landscapes by sending images of a distant planet to Earth. It was the Mariner-10 and Messenger programs that managed to get to these harsh lands that determined the main characteristics of the dwarf planet, providing humanity with data on the temperature, atmosphere and water reserves of Mercury. At the same time, the first attempts were made to detect life on the planet, but studies conducted in the 20th century showed its complete absence due to unsuitable climatic conditions.

Hope for the discovery of extraterrestrial life in the vicinity of the Sun can be given by the BepiColombo mission, launched by the European Space Agency in 2018. The arrival of the spacecraft to Mercury should take place in December 2025, 7 years after the official launch of the automatic mission. It is planned that the device will be able to work in Mercury’s orbit for about a year, during which time it will study the internal structure of the planet and analyze the quality of water ice reserves in the polar regions of this world. If the mission is successful, in a few years the question of the presence of life on Mercury will find its long-awaited answer, in any case, becoming a sensation in the world of science.

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