Occator Crater on Ceres


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 
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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

Occator Crater

Cool image time! As Dawn’s long and successful mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres winds down, the spacecraft is taking a slew of spectacular close-up images of Ceres. The image on the right, cropped slightly to post here, is an oblique view of Occator Crater, home to the double bright spots that scientists now believe are caused by the upward seepage of a water-based brine from the interior.

The image was taken August 14, 2018 from a distance of 1149 miles. It clearly shows how the bright spots are depressions, not raised features. Additional images released this week of the floor of the crater capture a complex fracture network (seen here and here) with some fractures apparently quite deep.

All this suggests that the surface crust of Ceres is not very structurally strong, allowing a churning process that plows material up and down. The data also suggests that even on a small planetary body like Ceres the geological processes are going to be complex and often on-going, depending on material, energy, and the size of the body.

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One comment

  • wodun

    We hear a lot about mining water from this or that heavenly body but we don’t hear much about the processes to make it usable. Sure, you can turn it into steam and then condense and filter it but aside from the nuts and bolts about how that would actually work in micro gravity, there is also the need to re-mineralize the water depending on what you want to use it for.

    Who knows though, maybe water from certain sources would actually taste good and be great for growing plants and animals without excessive treatment?

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