New NASA Research Suggests Cryovolcanoes On Dwarf Planet CeresBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
`NASA researchers have found data that suggests the possibility of cryovolcanoes on a dwarf planet named Ceres. Other findings also revealed that the planet is laden with ice.
USA Today reported that new research from NASA's Dawn spacecraft indicate that Ceres may have cryovolcanoes at the bottom of its craters. Ceres is the dwarf planet that orbits between Mars and Jupiter.
Moreover, other new discoveries confirmed that the small planet is filled with ice. Apparently, the ice stays in the soil below the surface and builds up in the bottoms of craters.
The findings were presented on Thursday. It was at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
"The members of the (Dawn science) team expected a lot of things, but not what we finally got," Ralf Jaumann of the German Aerospace Center, said. "I was completely surprised, and 'completely' means 'completely.'"
It was noted that Ceres has been the focus of the Hubble Space Telescope as well as other instruments based near Earth. This is because it reportedly is the biggest resident of the asteroid belt beyond Mars.
NASA's cameras showed that the bottoms of several craters on Ceres are covered with flowing material, similar to lava on Earth. However, the material, as described by Jaumann, looked "less vicious."
It was also noted that the material has a slight blue color, which similar to the color of the mountain on Ceres. This mountain is believed to have been formed by eruptions of ice mixed with mud.
It was said that the flowing material is a mixture of ice, mud and salts that erupted out of Ceres' surface. Jaumann and his colleagues' findings will be published in an upcoming issue of "Geophysical Research Letters."
According to CBC News, co-principal investigator Carol Raymond confirmed that Ceres has always had ice on its surface throughout the history of the solar system. Thomas Prettyman, principal investigator of Dawn's gamma ray and neutron detector (GRaND, added that ice is "everywhere and nearer to the surface with higher latitudes."