Cryo-volcanism had less influence on shaping Ceres than predicted


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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.”

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  • Lee S

    I’m finding these discoveries tremendously exciting…. Ceres, Enceladus, Pluto… All with signs of vulcanism, and all with supposedly not enough size or tidal flexing to explain the energy required… Triton, Europa, Titan… All active world’s, and all the above with complex ( if alien ) chemistry…
    When I was in high school I was told that life depended only upon the sun, and was currently only possible on the Earth in.pur solar system.
    I was also told we would never know if there were planets around other stars…
    My sneaking feeling, even back then, was that life is probably everywhere… A hike in the forest revials life on every surface… Every bare rock, upon inspection is covered in lychens and moss… And the floor is covered by layer upon layer neverending of the remains of life, upon which life thrives… The hottest springs, the dryest deserts, the coldest wastes on earth all host life…
    Why oh why do we presume life has only occured here? Apply the Copernican principal and the question becomes “is it possible that life only occured on earth?”… And the answer is “probably not”.

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