February 10, 2017: Evidence for aqueous alteration and ice-rock fractionation on (1) Ceres

Analyses of data acquired by the NASA Dawn mission show that the surface of large asteroid Ceres is rich in hydrogen in the form of phyllosilicates, water ice, and perhaps organic matter. Differences between Ceres’ surface elemental composition and that of the primitive CI chondrites suggest Ceres underwent ice-rock fractionation or formed from a different reservoir than the CI parent body. Composition data acquired by Dawn provide further constraints on Ceres’ origins, hydrothermal evolution, and present state, placing Ceres in context with other icy, solar system bodies.

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