View Full Version : Herschel Discovers Water Vapor Spewing from Ceres

2014-Jan-22, 07:40 PM
With the Dawn spacecraft now heading towards the dwarf planet/asteroid Ceres, the mission has suddenly gotten even more intriguing. The Herschel space observatory has discovered water vapor around Ceres, and the vapor could be emanating from water plumes — much like those that are on Saturn’s moon Enceladus – or it could be from cryovolcanism […]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/108415/herschel-discovers-water-vapor-spewing-from-ceres/)

2014-Jan-23, 04:51 AM
I didn't expect that.

2014-Jan-23, 01:25 PM
I've read a few bits and pieces over the years on how - given where it orbits and how large it is- Ceres should have formed with a lot of water, and should have been warm enough to keep a liquid ocean for maybe as much as a billion years. If it's still outgassing water today then it must have avery healthy resevoir of ice still, which fits with the theories. the odds are very good the outgassing is just sublimating ice, not related to liquid today in any way, but it implies that the Dawn spacecraft is about to visit a world that might be very broadly like mars: Once habitable in the distant past, today a shadow of its former self - but still holding clues of how it once was.

2014-Jan-24, 12:35 AM
Science just keeps blowing my mind!

If Ceres really has that much water, could it make a good refueling point for trips to the Outer Solar system? Or a mine site to make up volatile losses for Belt habitats?

2014-Jan-24, 01:59 PM
The high delta V needed to reach it might make it a bit awkward for a refuelling point, although the low gravity and abundant ice might offset that when compared to other potential 'depots'. I guess, I haven't done the numbers!