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Ceres: A Residual Ocean?

9 Nov 2017, 17:59 UTC
Ceres: A Residual Ocean?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Given yesterday’s look at the ocean beneath Enceladus’ ice, it seems the right time to examine the recent work on Ceres. We know that the dwarf planet may have had a global ocean of its own, but as with Enceladus, questions abound. Is there still liquid within Ceres? We have two new studies from the Dawn mission to give us some insights. The upshot:
“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,” said Julie Castillo-Rogez, Dawn project scientist and co-author of the studies, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
Anton Ermakov (JPL) is lead author of the first paper, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, which examined gravity data measurements from Dawn to analyze the composition of Ceres. This is exceedingly fine-grained work, drawing not only on Dawn data but on Deep Space Network observations of tiny changes in the spacecraft’s orbit. We learn that the craters Occator, Kerwan and Yalode, along with the mountain Ahuna Mons, are all associated with gravity anomalies — differences between observed gravity and the values predicted by our ...

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