Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter is a mysterious dwarf planet called Ceres. Its surface is dark and muddy, but has hundreds of patches of bright material. The salt-covered dome and other bright features in Occator Crater are so reflective that they looked like flashlights in distant images. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft got a close look at Ceres and pointed scientists to the idea that liquid brine has come up from the interior, forming the Occator dome and other bright features. Ceres’ crust also contains a significant amount of ice. Astrobiologist Britney Schmidt discusses the implications, as well as her fieldwork in Antarctica.
Listen to the full episode and subscribe: https://www.nasa.gov/gravityassist
Producer Credit: Elizabeth Landau & Sonnet Apple
Music Credit: Universal Production Music
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