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Ice on Ceres

18 December 2016

At http://phys.org/print401043545.html … it seems the large asteroid Ceres has some evidence of ice. NASAs Dawn mission sent back images of a dark cratered rocky environment with some bright spots caused by reflective salts – but no ice on the surface. The search then was turned on the craters – could they be hiding ice? Out of many that were peered into (dark and difficult to view) some ten of them display evidence of a bright material in the depths. However, one does show evidence of ice and this became the focus of a paper in Nature Astronomy – but they now have to explain how ice got into a crater. A thin watery atmosphere, like mist or fog has been suggested by one group of scientists. An intriguing possibility.

The annual GSU meeting (December 2016) must be a fantastic conference to attend as it has climate scientists reading their papers and theories, and in contrast, a climate sceptic with a paper that claims the effects of co2 are greatly exaggerated, as well as papers on space missions and lots of geology. A really nice mix. The Dawn mission is the subject of another of those papers at GSU, which concerns the upper surface of Ceres which is rich in hydrogen. This is consistent with the presence of water ice – but it doesn't occur at the surface in obvious deposits. See also www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aah6765.full

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