Outer crust of minerals, salts, ices cover dwarf planet’s solid core
JPL-Caltech/NASA, UCLA, MPS, DLR, IDA
Like an interplanetary parfait, the dwarf planet Ceres appears to have layers.
A pliable outer shell of minerals, ices and salts encapsulates a core of solid rock, a new study suggests. This first peek inside Ceres — courtesy of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft — can help researchers explain some mysteries on the surface and provide insight into the many ways planets and asteroids might be assembled. Ryan Park, a planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and colleagues report the findings online August 3 in Nature.
“Before we got to Ceres, we didn’t know what the interior looked like,” Park says. “Its evolution is more complex than what we envisioned.”