Water is a key piece in understanding the formation and composition of Ceres, said Emery, the Lawrence A. Taylor Associate Professor of Planetary Science.
“As a body is forming, it gets pretty warm inside from radioactive isotopes that can heat the entire interior,” he explains. “If there’s ice there, it melts the ice into water and drives chemical reactions and can lead to separation by density, by different materials.”
He added that understanding the presence of water on Ceres has implications beyond pure science.
If humans are to become “a spacefaring people,” he says, “water in any form will be a valuable commodity. To understand where water is and where we can get it in the solar system will be really valuable information.” Read the story online.