Scientists say is the largest object in the asteroid belt between and Jupiter. It is an “ocean world” with a lot of salt under its icy surface.

The results of the study published on Monday are based on data obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which flew 22 miles (35 kilometers) from the surface in 2018, and has a new understanding of Ceres, including showing its presence. Evidence of geological activity under low-temperature volcanism-the volcano exudes cold volcanic material.

These findings confirm the existence of an reservoir of salt water (salt-rich water), which is a remnant of a vast underground ocean that is gradually freezing.

Carol Raymond, planetary scientist and Dawn’s principal researcher, said: “This elevates Ceres to the status of the’sea world’ and points out that this category does not require oceans to be global.” “As far as Ceres is concerned, we know that Chu The reservoir is regional, but we cannot say with certainty that it is global. But, most importantly, the large-scale reservoir.”

The diameter of the gods of the valley is 590 miles (950 kilometers). Scientists focused on the 57-mile wide (92 km wide) Occator crater, which was formed by an impact in the northern hemisphere of Ceres about 22 years ago. It has two bright areas-salt crusts left by liquid that penetrates the surface and evaporates.

They concluded that the liquid originated from a saltwater reservoir lurking hundreds of miles (km) wide and lurking 25 miles (40 kilometers) below the surface. The cracks created by this impact allowed the salt water to get away. Escape.

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The research was published in the journals “Nature Astronomy”, “Nature Earth Science” and “Nature Communications”.

Other solar system objects that are known or appear to have underground oceans outside of Earth include Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Neptune’s moon Triton, and the planet Pluto.

Water is considered a key component of life. Scientists want to assess whether Ceres has been inhabited by microorganisms.

Julie Castillo, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: “At this stage, people are particularly interested in quantifying the habitability potential of deep saline reservoirs, especially considering it is cold and very salty. rich.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020