Scientists find a water world in our solar system
Have we found a possible another home? If research is to be believed, we well may have.
Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is an “ocean world” with a big reservoir of salty water under its frigid surface.
The US space agency NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which flew as close as 35 km from the surface in 2018, has provided a new understanding of Ceres.
The new evidence shows it remains geologically active with cryovolcanism – volcanoes oozing icy material. The findings confirm the presence of a subsurface reservoir of brine – salt-enriched water – remnants of a vast subsurface ocean that has been gradually freezing.
Other solar system bodies beyond Earth where subsurface oceans are known or appear to exist include Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Neptune’s moon Triton and the dwarf planet Pluto.
194 moons, 3,583 comets and 796,289 asteroids have been found in the solar system. But the 99.86% of the solar system’s mass is found in the Sun. The majority of the remaining 0.14% is contained within the eight planets.