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According to two new studies published by researchers, Ceres (the dwarf-planet that lies between Mars and Jupiter) may have once been home to a vast liquid ocean. Better yet, there’s the possibility that some of this water is still present deep beneath the planet’s crust, just waiting to be found.

Studying the composition of Ceres’ crust, researchers were able to determine that it contains a mixture of ice, salts, and hydrated material. The most likely scenario to explain this makeup is, of course, that the planet once housed an ocean on its surface.

This image of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft approximates how the dwarf planet’s colors would appear to the eye.

Releasing a statement on behalf of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Julie Castillo-Rogez said that “more and more, we are learning that Ceres is a complex, dynamic world that may have hosted a lot of liquid water in the past, and may still have some underground.”

The study also revealed that the dwarf-planet is still geologically active. By analyzing gravitational anomalies, the researchers were able to deduce the planet’s composition and interior structure. Features such as the Ahuna Mons mountain or Ceres’ bright spot indicate that the planet is slowly undergoing changes that can only be attributed to a geologically active interior.

The Dawn probe was responsible for data collection.

If water remains trapped beneath the surface, it’s possible that a future probe could bore itself into the dwarf-planet’s crust and explore its interior. By doing so, it would be the first to see the water in over 4 billion years, when the ocean last spread out across Ceres’ surface. Current data on the planet was collected by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which will remain in operation for another two years. Who knows what other secrets it may unlock in that time.


Images: NASA

Source: NASA

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Jason works at a university up in the frozen north that is Canada, where he spends too much time with technology.

NASA Find Remains Of Ancient Ocean On Ceres

There's a chance the water is still there, hidden beneath the surface.

By Jason Lamb | 11/7/2017 05:00 AM PT

News

According to two new studies published by researchers, Ceres (the dwarf-planet that lies between Mars and Jupiter) may have once been home to a vast liquid ocean. Better yet, there’s the possibility that some of this water is still present deep beneath the planet’s crust, just waiting to be found.

Studying the composition of Ceres’ crust, researchers were able to determine that it contains a mixture of ice, salts, and hydrated material. The most likely scenario to explain this makeup is, of course, that the planet once housed an ocean on its surface.

This image of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft approximates how the dwarf planet’s colors would appear to the eye.

Releasing a statement on behalf of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Julie Castillo-Rogez said that “more and more, we are learning that Ceres is a complex, dynamic world that may have hosted a lot of liquid water in the past, and may still have some underground.”

The study also revealed that the dwarf-planet is still geologically active. By analyzing gravitational anomalies, the researchers were able to deduce the planet’s composition and interior structure. Features such as the Ahuna Mons mountain or Ceres’ bright spot indicate that the planet is slowly undergoing changes that can only be attributed to a geologically active interior.

The Dawn probe was responsible for data collection.

If water remains trapped beneath the surface, it’s possible that a future probe could bore itself into the dwarf-planet’s crust and explore its interior. By doing so, it would be the first to see the water in over 4 billion years, when the ocean last spread out across Ceres’ surface. Current data on the planet was collected by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which will remain in operation for another two years. Who knows what other secrets it may unlock in that time.


Images: NASA

Source: NASA

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About Jason Lamb

view all posts

Jason works at a university up in the frozen north that is Canada, where he spends too much time with technology.