Geology of Ceres illuminates origin of organics
NASA's Dawn spacecraft recently detected organic-rich areas on Ceres. Scientists evaluated the geology of the regions to conclude that the organics are most likely native to the dwarf planet. Data from the spacecraft suggest that the interior of Ceres is the source of these organic materials, as opposed to arriving via impacting asteroids or comets, according to a paper published in Science.
|This enhanced color composite image from Dawn's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer shows |
the area around Ernutet Crater on Ceres [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/ASI/INAF]
Ceres shows clear signatures of pervasive hydrothermal activity, aqueous alteration and fluid mobility, so the organic-rich areas may be the result of internal processes. Dawn scientists will continue to study the dwarf planet to identify a viable method for transporting such material from the interior to the surface in the pattern observed.
Source: Southwest Research Institute [February 17, 2017]