In 2017, while studying data collected by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, scientists discovered fatty compounds near one of Ceres’ craters. In trying to determine the origin of these molecules, researchers concluded that these organic substances are much more common than previously thought and that their presence is influenced by the effects of pollution. planet. Preliminary findings by astrobiologists indicate that there is water and organic matter on Ceres.
Scientists from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (Spain) have discovered that organic matter on Ceres, one of the dwarf planets in the solar system’s asteroid belt, may be more widespread than with initial estimates and it appears to be resilient to the conditions of this and similar planets.
A series of experiments simulating conditions on Ceres helped them reach this conclusion. These studies were conducted using the Ames Vertical Range, developed by NASA to study the physics and mechanics of asteroid impacts and impact craters. Scientists combined the experimental results with data from the Rassvet instrument’s camera and spectrometer. The results indicate that there is a correlation between organic matter and ancient impact craters, suggesting that impacted asteroids influenced the presence and content of organic matter over billions of years.
The high priority of Ceres from an astrobiology perspective allows us to be confident in our mission to deliver samples of this dwarf planet over the next decade. Images from a probe flying over Ceres allowed scientists in the United States and Europe to examine salt deposits in the crater that had never before been detected outside of Earth. The dwarf planet Ceres, long thought to be just an empty space rock, turns out to be a water world hidden beneath the surface.