NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has detected organic compounds on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres.
Scientists found a patch of organic materials near one crater, with a smaller amount a few hundred kilometers away.
The materials are likely “tar-like” materials like kerite and asphaltite.
Scientists believe the materials were created on Ceres and were not deposited there by impacting comets or asteroids.
The organic materials, along with the presence of water and an internal heat source, suggest that the asteroid belt’s largest object has all the basic requirements to support life. [Space.com]
NASA is developing a contingency plan for getting crews to and from the International Space Station after 2018 should commercial crew companies encounter more delays. In a response to a GAO report published Thursday, NASA said it is developing such a plan and will complete it by mid-March. One option included in the report would be for NASA to carry out another “one-year” ISS mission starting in late 2018, avoiding the need for a Soyuz seat on a mid-2019 flight. NASA has also previously been in discussions with Boeing about acquiring Soyuz seats through the company for 2019 missions. The plan is needed, the GAO report ...