Spectroscopy of White Spots on Ceres “Probably” Magnesium Sulfate — So Is There “Briny Water-Ice” Underground?

 

“Whether there is water in liquid or solid form underground on Ceres will depend not only on the (internal) temperature, but also on the specific composition of the materials that are dissolved in it.”

- Marc Rayman, Ph.D., Director, Dawn Mission, JPL/NASA, Pasadena, CA

Upper left corner, underlined, is Occator crater north of the Ceres equator that has the bright,  white spots that spectroscopic analysis suggests are "probably magnesium sulfate" like  Epsom salts. Underlined on the far right south of the Ceres equator is Ahuna Mons,  the only 4-mile-high mountain on the dwarf planet. Click to enlarge full Ceres map.
Upper left corner, underlined, is Occator crater north of the Ceres equator that has the bright, white spots that spectroscopic analysis suggests are "probably magnesium sulfate" like Epsom salts. Underlined on the far right south of the Ceres equator is Ahuna Mons, the only 4-mile-high mountain on the dwarf planet. Click to enlarge full Ceres map.

December 18, 2015  Pasadena, California - After spending August to October at 915 miles (1,470 km) above Ceres — that 600-mile-diameter dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter —  NASA's Dawn spacecraft on October 23rd fired up its ion engine to lower another 675 miles. In a couple of weeks by Christmas 2015, Dawn will be in its lowest and final mapping orbit of 240 miles above Ceres, photographing at a resolution of 120 feet (35 meters) per pixel.  By 2016, the engine will run out of fuel and Dawn will then be a permanent, but non-working, satellite, orbiting Ceres.

 

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