False-color view of Ceres’ icy crust from the Dawn spacecraft. You can see the differences in surface materials. The bright spots in Occator Crater are salt deposits, thought to be left over from when salty water reached the surface and evaporated. A new analysis of data from Dawn also shows elevated levels of hydrogen on the surface. It’s thought that impacts to Ceres’ crust excavated the water ice. Image via NASA/ JPL-CalTech/ UCLA/ MPS/ DLR/ IDA.
Dwarf planet Ceres’ icy crust
The dwarf planet Ceres, which orbits the sun in the asteroid belt, is an enigmatic world, with bright spots of salts, a huge ice volcano and, likely, salty water below its surface. Now, scientists have found more evidence that Ceres’ icy crust is indeed rich in water ice. And, they think, bits of water ice are lying exposed on the surface. Ultimately, they said, these fragments were flung out by impacts from asteroids or other rocky debris.
Researchers at the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) announced the intriguing research last week. Additionally, their new peer-reviewed paper was published in Geophysical Research Letters on July 21, 2021.
High concentrations of hydrogen detected by Dawn
In this case, the icy deposits were ...