Bright spots on Ceres likely salt deposits

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Based on an analysis of Dawn images scientists now believe that the bright spots on Ceres are salt deposits, not water ice.

Le Corre and colleagues, using images from Dawn’s framing camera, suggest that these salt-rich areas were left behind when water-ice sublimated in the past. Impacts from asteroids would have unearthed the mixture of ice and salt. “The location of some bright spots also coincide with places where water vapor was detected by other spacecraft,” said Reddy, a PSI Research Scientist. “This gives us confidence that the bright spots are likely salt deposits left over by sublimating salty water.”

While the bright spots themselves are not ice, they are what is left over after salty water evaporates.

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