Ceres’s poles have shifted by as much as 36 degrees


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A new analysis of Dawn data suggests that the poles of Ceres have wandered by as much as 36 degrees, and the data also adds further support for the existence of a liquid water layer between the dwarf planet’s crust and mantle.

“The most surprising aspect of this paper is to me the observation that the pole of Ceres must have followed an indirect path to its current pole. A multi-step reorientation could mean that the equatorial density anomaly was still evolving during the reorientation, and this could be because the crust and mantle were weakly rotationally coupled, allowing the crust to start reorienting while the mantle would lag behind,” Tricarico said. “If crust and mantle are allowed to shift with respect to one another, that could point to a layer of reduced friction between crust and mantle, and one of the possible mechanisms to reduce friction could be an ancient water ocean beneath the crust.”

In other words, the crust and mantle are not locked together. Imagine a baseball where the ballcover is not tightly held to the inner core, and slides around it. (Boy there are a lot of pitchers who wish they could get a hand on that baseball.) The cause of that looseness on Ceres is possibly because of a liquid layer in-between the crust and the mantle.

Need I note that there are uncertainties here?

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