The Dawn probe has provided evidence of high concentrations of carbon on the surface of Ceres
Based on data sent back by the Dawn probe, astronomers have confirmed that the surface of Ceres is rich in organic matter. The surface of this dwarf planet may have a concentration of carbon several times greater than the richest carbon-rich meteorites found on Earth.
Teamoł scientistsow led by researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) found that the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres is unusually rich in carbon. In a new study describing these findings published in the pages of „Nature Astronomy”, astronomers have estimated that Ceres’ surface may have more than five times as much carbon as most of the most carbon-rich meteoritesow that can be found on Earth.
Dawn probe, with ktowhere the data originated, it completed its mission on November 1 of this year. The spacecraft used all the fuel, whichore allowed adequate orientation in space. Launched in 2007, the probe was designed to study the dwoch largest objectsoin the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is about the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. The probe’s task was to determine the shape ofow, sizeow, mass and composition of objectsow. It had rown also determined the size of their nuclei.
In the course of her subroDawn’s gyro traveled nearly seven billionoin kilometerow. It approached Vesta in 2011 and became the first spacecraft to study an object in the asteroid belt. Four years poLater it reached the orbit of Ceres becoming the first probe thatora entered orbits dwoch celestial bodies. RoIt was also the first to make a study of a dwarf planet. Data acquired during the mission will provide scientists with material for analysis for years to come.
Ceres is believed to have formed about 4.6 billion years ago, during the formation of our Solar System. Data from Dawn had previously revealed the presence of water and other volatile substances, such as ammonia. Now they have confirmed the high concentration of carbon on the surface.
In orbit aroundoCeres Dawn has collected data thatore provided evidenceow on the presence of organic matter on the surface of the dwarf planet. – Ceres is like a chemical factory. Amongod of the Solar System’s inner bodies, Ceres has a unique mineralogy, whichora appears to contain up to 20 percent carbon in its surface composition. Our analysis shows that the carbon-rich compounds are mixed with the products of rock-water interactions, such as clay, said Dr. Simone Marchi of SwRI, the head of theowny author of the publication.
New analysis indicates that the carbon-rich organic material, is likely to be found in significant quantities on the surface of dwarf planets and in subsurface layers. The findings suggest that Ceres formed in a cold environment, possibly outside Jupiter’s orbit. Only poMore recent reshuffling of the orbits of the gas giantow have pushed Ceres to its current position in the asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The discovery has implications for our understanding of how life may have spread in the early Solar System. It changes our understanding of what rolar bodies in our cosmic ogreodku. Someore may have more carbon than previously thought.
Marchi acknowledged that Ceres has gained a key role in assessing the origin, evolution and distribution of the compoundow organic in the inner Solar System. – One has to wonder howob this world mohead to influence the organic chemistry pathways and formation processes of larger planets such as Earth – admitted Marchi.
Scientists are still not sure howob Ceres has obtained its organic matter. These may have accumulated early in the object’s formation or were acquired over time as the dwarf planet was bombarded with meteorites. Geophysical, compositional and collision models based on Dawn probe data revealed that the partially zroThe varied interior of Ceres was formed by processes of interaction between rocks and fluids.
A spectrometer aboard Dawn has shown that the low albedo (ratio of reflected to incident radiation) of Ceres’ surface is influenced by phyllosilicates, carbonates and an iron oxide called magnetite. But high concentrations of amorphous carbon.
Scientists in the study found roalso that 50-60 percent of Ceres’ outer crust may have a composition similar to chondrite meteoritesoin the carbon. This material is likely to come from asteroidsoin carbon, which seems to be confirmed by the Ceres surface riddled with craters.
The probe found its resting place in the orbit of Ceres, where it will orbit for the next decades.
Source:obackground: Southwest Research Institute, fot. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA. Pictured is the impact crater Urvara on Ceres.