NASA's Dawn spacecraft determined the hydrogen content of the upper yard, or meter, of Ceres' surface. Blue indicates where hydrogen content is higher, near the poles, while red indicates lower content at lower latitudes. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

Dwarf planet Ceres | Evidence for ice at or near the surface of the planet

Dwarf | In a recent study published in “Geophysical Research Letters” by researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it was found that the surface features and interior of the Ceres dwarf planet are more closely linked than previously thought.


The findings confirm the idea that hundreds of millions or even a billion years ago, the material under Ceres’ surface rose to the outside, creating fractures in the crust of the planet, writes phys.org.
This process may allow other explanations to be made in determining the evolution of the dwarf planet. With the spacecraft Dawn, scientists have created a map that contains more than 2,000 Linear features on the Ceres, more than one kilometre in length, located outside impact craters.

Researchers have found that there are two types. The first type is the secondary chains, circular depressions created by fragments thrown from impact craters. The second type, more rarely encountered than the first, is crater chains that resulted from the fractures in the basement. Only the latter give clues to Ceres’s internal evolution. Although it may have been formed by the freezing of an underground ocean, the scenario is unlikely because these structures are not homogeneously dispersed on the surface of the planet.

This image made with data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows pit chains on dwarf planet Ceres called Samhain Catenae.

Also, it is unlikely to have formed as a result of impacts with foreign bodies, because there is insufficient evidence of impact on Ceres of such magnitude that it would produce these fractures at this scale. The most likely explanation, according to NASA scientists, is that the material in the deep has risen to the surface, forming this type of relief. A possible reason that the material has climbed to the surface is that it would have been less dense than the crust of the dwarf planet.

On the dwarf planet Ceres there were massive landslides, similar to those formed on the Terra. According to a new study, there is increasing evidence that Ceres retains a large amount of solid water. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, used data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft to identify three types of landslides, according to Science Daily.

  • Type I represents relatively round and large landslides, similar to the landslides that occur in the Arctic area of the Earth. This type is usually found at high latitudes, where there is the largest amount of ice.
  • Type II is often found on Ceres’ surface and resembles the deposits left by avalanches on Terra. They are thinner and longer than Type I and are found at medium latitudes.
  • Type III is formed when the ice is melted by an impact with another asteroid. These landslides are located at low latitudes and are found with impact craters.

Britney Schmidt, a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, led the study. It states that “landslides cover a larger area in the poles than in the equator, but most surface processes do not take account of latitude. This is why we think ice influences these processes. There is no other explanation to show why massive landslides take place in the poles. ” Based on the distribution and quantity of landslides, the researchers estimated that the outer part of the dwarf planet contains between 10 and 50% ice.

There may be water in the northern hemisphere of the Ceres dwarf planet. Unbelievable discoveries on the history of the heavenly body

NASA’s Dawn space probe has revealed that Ceres, the largest celestial object in the asteroid belt, has powerful reflective salts. A new study published by Dawn researchers shows evidence of the existence of two distinctive ice lines near the surface of the dwarf planet.

“These studies support the idea that ice has separated from the rocks at the beginning of the Ceres dwarf, thus forming a layer of ice that has remained on the surface,” says Carol Raymond, the chief investigator at the Dawn mission.

Frozen water from other heavenly bodies is important because it is an essential ingredient of life. “By discovering heavenly bodies that have been rich in water in the past, we can find clues about the existence of life on other planets in our solar system,” says Raymond. The upper part of Ceres’ surface is rich in hydrogen, the concentration is higher at medium and high latitudes.

“On Ceres, the ice is not only located in craters, but it is also everywhere near high latitudes,” said Thomas Prettyman, principal investigator of the neutron and gamma-ray detector (GRaND)

The researchers used GraNd to determine the concentration of hydrogen, iron, and potassium in the highest parts of the Ceres planet. Neutrons are produced when cosmic rays interact with the surface of the Ceres dwarf planet. On Ceres hydrogen is in the form of frozen water. The high iron, potassium and carbon-hydrogen content provides evidence that the outer layer covering Ceres is altered by the liquid water inside the plant. Researchers suggest that after decades of interacting with radioactive elements, Ceres produced heat that produced the formation of the rocky interior and surface frost.

In another study by Thomas Platz of the Max Planck Institute of Solar System Research, it was discovered that glossy materials were deposited in craters in the northern hemisphere, where temperatures reached -126 degrees Celsius. The discovery suggests that water could be found in craters in the dark area of the Ceres dwarf planet.

Stunning discovery of organic matter from Ceres: its origin is native

Since NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft has located organic matter on Ceres, scientists have tried to find out the origin of it. Evidence indicates that organic matter is native, produced on the planet itself and does not come from asteroids and comets that hit the planet.

“The discovery of a large concentration of organic material near the Ernulet crater is an enigma,” said Simone Marchi, a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute.
“Was the organic material brought to Ceres after her formation? Or was it synthesized and/or concentrated in a given location due to internal processes?
Both scenarios are short, so we can miss a critical part of the puzzle, “he adds.

Ceres is believed to have appeared 4.5 billion years ago at the beginning of the Solar System. The location of the dwarf planet on the boundary between the inner part of the Solar System and the outer one, and the composition characterized by clays, sodium carbonates, and ammonia, suggests a very complex chemical evolution. The role of organic matter in this evolution is not fully understood, but it is of major importance in astronomy, writes Science Daily.

“Recently, we investigated the viability of the origin of organic matter as a result of an impact with a comet or asteroid,” Marchi said.

The models developed by the research team indicated that high impacts, with high speeds, would have destroyed almost all organic matter. In contrast, at lower impact rates, 20-30% of organic matter would have been retained. However, the spatial distribution of this material on Ceres does not match the places where the impacts occurred. In this sense, Marchi suggests that “the discovery indicates that organic matter on Ceres is native”.

Watch the following video for more insights about the topic:



  1. https://www.nasa.gov
  2. http://www.descopera.ro/stiinta

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