Water plays big role in shaping dwarf planet Ceres | Science News

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Water plays big role in shaping dwarf planet Ceres

2:03pm, September 1, 2016
surface of Ceres

The 4-kilometer-high mountain Ahuna Mons on the dwarf planet Ceres is probably a cryovolcano, new findings suggest. This photo was assembled from images taken by the Dawn spacecraft.

Ice volcanoes, patches of water ice and a slew of hydrated minerals paint a picture of dwarf planet Ceres as a geologically active world — one where water has played a starring role. That’s the theme of six papers in the Sept. 2 Science that describe data collected by the Dawn spacecraft.

A 4-kilometer-high mountain dubbed Ahuna Mons, with its bowl-shaped summit and ridged flanks, has the appearance of a cryovolcano — one that erupts water instead of magma. The relatively young Oxo crater also appears to be home to splotches of frozen water. Given that ice should last only tens to hundreds of years on Ceres’ surface, the patches must

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