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The uncertainty of science: A careful analysis of the Dawn data has found that though cryo-volcanism has occurred repeatedly on Ceres, it had less influence on the dwarf planet’s surface than previous models had predicted.
At the same time, the data also suggests that Ceres has been more active throughout its history than predicted. They found about 22 domes that are apparently past cryo-volcanoes that have flattened out.
“Given how small Ceres is, and how quickly it cooled off after its formation, it would be exciting to identify only one or two possible cryovolcanoes on the surface. To identify a large population of features that may be cryovolcanoes would suggest a long history of volcanism extending up to nearly the present day, which is tremendously exciting,” said Sizemore. “Ceres is a little world that ought to be ‘dead,’ but these new results suggest it might not be. Seeing so much potential evidence for cryovolcanism on Ceres also lends more weight to discussions of cryovolcanic processes on larger icy moons in the outer solar system, where it’s likely more vigorous.”