Home Science Ceres: Dwarf planet is a world with water

Ceres: Dwarf planet is a world with water


Ceres is a dwarf planet located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Until now, since its discovery, in 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi, it was believed to be another dry rock, one of the many present in the immensity that is Space.

However, new observations have shown the existence of a salt water reservoir, previously unknown.

Ceres crater houses salt water

In addition to being located on the asteroid belt between and Mars and Jupiter, Ceres is also the largest object present there. Thus, it is possible for NASA's Dawn Spaceship to capture high-resolution images of its surface.

Now, a team of scientists from the United States and Europe has analyzed images collected from Ceres' orbit, captured some 35 kilometers away. The focus was the 20 million-year-old Occator crater. There, under its surface, they found an “extensive reservoir” of salt water.

In addition to the team that brought together elements from the USA and Europe, others carried out research on Ceres. These studies were published in Nature Astronomy, Nature Geoscience and Nature Communications. Thus, it was possible to lift the curtain on some facts, once unknown, in the face of the dwarf planet.

Through an infrared image system, one of the teams discovered the presence of the compound hydrohalite. That is, a material commonly found in sea ice, but which had never been detected outside the Earth.

According to Maria Cristina De Sanctis, of the National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome, the compound hydrohalite it is a confirmation of the existence of sea water in Ceres. In addition, he added that this dwarf planet is a "species of oceanic world", as well as some of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.

Ceres: Dwarf planet is a world with water 5

Water and life off Earth

Even though they were only detected now, the same team also said that the salt deposits appeared to have been accumulating for the past two million years. So it is possible that salt water may still be rising from the interior of the planet. In addition to the time it took to accumulate, his unstable manner refers to a recent appearance.

The material found in Ceres is extremely important in terms of astrobiology.

We know that these minerals are essential for the emergence of life.

Said Maria Cristina De Sanctis.

This is an incredible discovery, for what has been the incessant demand for water, and even for possibilities of life, on other planets.


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