Mercury: Does Its Atmosphere Contain Water?

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Science  22 Mar 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4130, pp. 1197-1198
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4130.1197


The atmosphere of Mercury, like that of the moon, is maintained in an extremely tenuous minimum state by weak solar wind accretion and radioactive decay processes, and depleted by strong removal mechanisms. Unlike the moon, it has a high daytime surface temperature that promotes the production of water vapor, which may be the dominant atmospheric constituent derived from solar wind protons.