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Ceres’ white spots might be salt not water

The uncertainty of science: The principal investigator of Dawn has indicated that the preliminary data they have gotten of Ceres’ white spots strongly suggests that they are not water but salt.

The mystery is far from completely solved, Russell cautioned. The team failed to get the quality of measurements they wanted in examining the spots, and they’ll have to try again at a closer orbit — like the next planned mapping orbit, which will take them from 2,700 miles over the surface to just 900. The photos taken at that height will also have significantly better resolution, which should further help the team determine what the spots are made of.

But based on the spectral data the team did get, Russell said, the spots “really don’t look like mounds of ice. … The bright spots are probably — like you might find in the desert on Earth — a salt plain where maybe water came out at one time and evaporated,” Russell said.

None of this is confirmed, and won’t be until they lower Dawn’s orbit to get higher resolution images. However, this must wait because they have extended Dawn’s mapping orbit for now as they review the issue that caused the safe mode incident on June 30.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
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