Dantu Crater on Ceres

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bright areas on crater wall on Ceres

Cool image time! As Dawn continues its close survey of Ceres, the science team has released this image of Dantu Crater, showing the bright spots on its rim as well as fractures on the crater floor. The picture was taken in December and has a resolution of about 120 feet per pixel.

Though scientists now favor salt deposits of some kind as the cause of the bright areas on Ceres, they also recognize that this theory is not yet proven. Moreover, the theory suggests that the salt was deposited as part of a water brine. When the water in the brine evaporated away, it left the salt behind. The problem, however, is that we do not yet have direct evidence that there is any water on Ceres at all, either on the surface or in the interior, which makes this theory exceedingly uncertain.


  • Dick Eagleson

    I’ve read numerous reports of the Hubble Space Telescope having repeatedly detected water vapor at Ceres. Has Dawn failed to confirm such observations?

  • Max

    This is just a guess, if Ceres was covered in ice at one time (methane or ammonia and/or numerous other ices not unlike most of the other moons in the outer solar system) then a meteor impacting would’ve covered the ice with dirt. Sheets of ice would’ve been pushed aside and piled up leaving irregular mounds in the regolith similar to what we see around the edges of the basin like worm tracks.
    The buried ices under pressure and heat would follow the nearest path of least resistance to the surface, bring with it whatever it dissolves in the rock. Once the liquid reaches the airless vacuum, it will boil leaving behind any dissolved material that it took out with it. I see holes along the base of the cliff that might indicate caverns. Ice long evaporated leaving Voids.
    There is much evidence that our solar system passes through inter-stellar gas clouds from time to time. ( The interior of our own galaxy is hidden by so much gas that we cannot see what’s in the middle clearly, Or perhaps outgassing of the sun on a major level) The material would block the light and heat of the sun while coating all of the outer planets with the new layor of thicker atmospheres or ice and mass.
    The evidence for a meteor impact the killed the dinosaurs could have also been caused by this type of catastrophic event without the violence. The methane and ammonia gases would’ve condensed our atmosphere cooling us off and causing an ice age and leaving behind water and nitrogen as the evidence.
    The Noah event as described in old testament exactly describes what would happen if our atmosphere was to burn off (like extreme northern lights) leaving behind a much thinner atmosphere and the water as snow /ice covering everything. Once the solar system has passed through the cloud, heat and light from the sun would return bringing a new spring to a drastically new planet with hotter days and colder nights.
    Just thinking out loud.

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