NASA: Ceres, a dwarf planet like Pluto, is an ocean world

Pluto was considered a planet when it was first discovered and was later declared as the first dwarf planet. Ceres is a dwarf planet and the largest object in the Asteroid Belt and is now named the Ocean World. The latest information given out by NASA proves that the high area of the planet consists of salty water hiding below its surface.

This fact makes it a possible home for the solar system. NASA sent its ion-engine powered Dawn spacecraft to visit Ceres in 2018. It went 22 miles (35 kilometers) from the surface. A 57-mile (92 kilometers) Occator Crater was spotted during the search. The entire planet is of 590 miles (950 km) in diameter, so this crater is quite prominent.

Scientists used geomorphology and topographical data to bring down the information collected from the Dawn mission. However, it is known that the bright spots are results of salt crystallization, and these deposits were young- lasted from a few millions of years.

Read Also: A new study suggests early Mars was covered in ice sheets

What the researchers found

Researchers know that the salt deposits are younger Ceres is often hit by smaller asteroids that would have to darken the reflected surfaces over time. It was also found out that there are two sources of salt deposits – a slushy pool of brine just below the surface. Ceres does not have any internal geological heating, but the effect that formed Occator Crater liquified water.

The puddle cooled after millions of years, but its effect created deep fractures into the surface. These fractures created a larger, long-lived reservoir of brine further down. Over time, it allowed the brine to leak up through the surface and evaporate, leaving the salt behind.

Hence, Ceres is an ocean world, to some degree. It can be said that the reservoir with salty water is regional but expensive. The questions raised are whether life is possible on Ceres or not. It is said that the high content of salt might be good for some hearty organisms and might not be good for some organisms.

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