Exploring Ceres: Icy Patches?

In its 13,000 KM mapping orbit around Ceres, the Dawn spacecraft is now able to resolve the mysterious “bright spots” into multiple small bright areas. This finding is consistent with the possible presence of ice on the surface (congratulations if you bet on that in the pool last week).

Thinking about it, I can see that it would be very possible for there to be lots of small patches of ice scattered about. A few places there are many patches close together, which we could see from a distance.

If these spots are indeed ice, then that would make this last couple of years something of a historic moment in science: we have accumulated strong evidence for ice on Mars, Ceres, and even Mercury (and, obviously, comet 67P/CG).


Many of us suspected there was a lot of water out there, but now we have good reason to believe it.



Space Saturday

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