Team finds evidence for carbon-rich surface on Ceres

SwRI-led team finds evidence for carbon-rich surface on Ceres
NASA's Dawn spacecraft captured this 12.5-mile-across close-up of the central peak of the 99-mile-wide Urvara impact crater on Ceres. The remarkable 6,500-foot central ridge is made from materials uplifted from depth, arising from terrains enriched with products of rock-water interactions, such as carbonates. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

A team led by Southwest Research Institute has concluded that the surface of dwarf planet Ceres is rich in organic matter. Data from NASA's Dawn spacecraft indicate that Ceres's surface may contain several times the concentration of carbon than is present in the most carbon-rich, primitive meteorites found on Earth.

"Ceres is like a chemical factory," said SwRI's Dr. Simone Marchi, a principal scientist who was the lead author of research published in Nature Astronomy today. "Among inner solar system bodies, Ceres' has a unique mineralogy, which appears to contain up to 20 percent carbon by mass in its near surface. Our analysis shows that carbon-rich compounds are intimately mixed with products of rock-water interactions, such as clays."

Ceres is believed to have originated about 4.6 billion years ago at the dawn of our solar system. Dawn data previously revealed the presence of water and other volatiles, such as ammonium derived from ammonia, and now a high concentration of carbon. This chemistry suggests Ceres formed in a cold environment, perhaps outside the orbit of Jupiter. An ensuing shakeup in the orbits of the large planets would have pushed Ceres to its current location in the main asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

"With these findings, Ceres has gained a pivotal role in assessing the origin, evolution and distribution of organic species across the inner solar system," Marchi said. "One has to wonder about how this world may have driven organic chemistry pathways, and how these processes may have affected the make-up of larger planets like the Earth."

SwRI-led team finds evidence for carbon-rich surface on Ceres
SwRI scientists constructed a possible schematic path for the evolution of Ceres' upper crust. The figure shows the presence of carbonaceous chondrite-like materials (black) mixed with products of aqueous alteration such as phyllosilicates, carbonates and magnetite (green) and organics (orange). Shaded blue regions indicate water, and blue lines represent conduits for water migration. Organics may have formed in place during aqueous alteration or could have been concentrated by fluids ascending to the upper crust, resulting in the inferred higher-than-chondritic carbon concentration on Ceres' surface. Over time, the surface gets homogenized by mixing due to collisions and other processes. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Geophysical, compositional and collisional models based on Dawn data revealed that Ceres' partially differentiated interior has been altered by fluid processes. Dawn's Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer has shown that the overall low albedo of Ceres'' surface is a combination of rock-water interaction products such as phyllosilicates and carbonates and a significant amount of spectrally neutral darkening agents, such as an iron oxide called magnetite.

Because Dawn's Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector limits magnetite to only a few percent by mass, the data point to the presence of an additional darkening agent, probably amorphous carbon, a carbon-rich organic material. Interestingly, specific organic compounds have also been detected near a 31-mile-wide impact crater named Ernutet, giving further support to the widespread presence of organics in Ceres' shallow subsurface.

The new study also finds that 50-60 percent of Ceres' upper crust may have a composition similar to primitive carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. This material is compatible with contamination from infalling carbonaceous asteroids, a possibility supported by Ceres' battered surface.

"Our results imply that either Ceres' accreted ultra-carbon-rich materials or that carbon was concentrated in its crust," said said Marchi. "Both potential scenarios are important, because Ceres' mineralogical composition indicates a global-scale event of rock-water alteration, which could provide conditions favorable to organic chemistry."


Explore further

Scientists dig into the origin of organics on Ceres

More information: An aqueously altered carbon-rich Ceres, Nature Astronomy (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0656-0 , https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-018-0656-0
Journal information: Nature Astronomy

Citation: Team finds evidence for carbon-rich surface on Ceres (2018, December 10) retrieved 20 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-team-evidence-carbon-rich-surface-ceres.html
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Dec 10, 2018
What are they saying with "organic"?

Pristine, naturally derived?

Or as in living organisms?

Dec 10, 2018
What are they saying with "organic"?

Pristine, naturally derived?

Or as in living organisms?
of, relating to, or containing carbon compounds

"Our results imply that either Ceres' accreted ultra-carbon-rich materials or that carbon was concentrated in its crust," said said Marchi. "Both potential scenarios are important, because Ceres' mineralogical composition indicates a global-scale event of rock-water alteration, which could provide conditions favorable to organic chemistry."
it simply has the potential to be useful to us and as a possible place to search for simple life not of Earth

Dec 10, 2018
I'm still waiting for someone to model the possibility that Ceres is the long lost partner to Neptune's moon Triton.

Neptune, it is theorized captured that large moon rather than accreting along with Neptune as the Solar system formed.

All scenarios that end with Neptune successfully capturing Triton require it to have had a partner. Without a partner, Neptune would not have any way to get rid of its independent orbital energy to capture it.

By having a partner Neptune is able to capture Triton by dumping the orbital energy onto its partner. The assumption then is the partner would gain so much speed it was flung out of the Solar system.

I wonder though instead of up or away from the plane of the Solar System, it was flung inward across the orbital plane of the solar system which would have allowed Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter (thanks to being in much tighter orbits back then) to slow it down enough for the sun to recapture at set it down within the Asteroid belt.

Dec 11, 2018
Ceres is believed to have originated about 4.6 billion years ago at the dawn of our solar system.

A true blind belief since there is no way to verify it. The story is simply that - a story!

Dec 11, 2018
Ceres is believed to have originated about 4.6 billion years ago at the dawn of our solar system.

A true blind belief since there is no way to verify it. The story is simply that - a story!


Don't confuse this hypothesis with your book of fairy tales, Fred.

Dec 11, 2018
Ceres is believed to have originated about 4.6 billion years ago at the dawn of our solar system.

A true blind belief since there is no way to verify it. The story is simply that - a story!


Well, asteroid Itokawa was dated to ~ 4.64 Ga. So I don't see why Ceres would be much different;

https://phys.org/...oid.html

Dec 11, 2018
Ceres is believed to have originated about 4.6 billion years ago at the dawn of our solar system.

A true blind belief since there is no way to verify it. The story is simply that - a story!


Don't confuse this hypothesis with your book of fairy tales, Fred.


Isn't that the thing they have in Portal? Something like "The Book Is A Lie".

It is humor that creationists still discuss datings, when particle accelerators showed last year that creationists does not become rewarded (no 'soul' of 'afterlife' can exist) or that cosmology observations showed this year the basis for their claims is a falsehood (no 'gods' can exist). They are really not interested in what their superstition is about, all they want is a comfort blanket and no "disturbing" facts.

Jan 10, 2019
@tbgl
Since YOU are apparently still amongst the 'living', it is doubtful that you or any other living person could gain such "physical" evidences of the Soul, the Afterlife, Angels, Satan/Lucifer/Devil, or the One True Creator God.
The ONLY evidences that you seek are "material evidences" - which you will not find, even in particle accelerators - where the "unphysical" cannot be found.
Beings of an unphysical nature sometimes reveal themselves to the living - but only when the occasion is permitted and, depending on whether the unphysical being is demonic - which is most often the case, as in demonic possession - the person who has been possessed will have to "pass the test" to determine if it is true demonic-possession, OR the result of some form of mental illness. Some ARE derived from mental illness and illicit drug use - but others are determined to be true cases of demonic-possession. Many of those are apparent now in society.

Jan 10, 2019
-contd-
@tbglarsson
The Earth itself, since it began the accretion process is approximately 4.6 Billion years old, more or less. Most Religionists who have read Genesis in the Bible have been duped into believing that the Earth is only 6000 - 7000 years old, due to their church leaders adding up the ages of the characters in Genesis from Adam and Eve, plus the 6-day creation - which is, of course ridiculous and impossible from a physical point of view.
In terms of age of the Earth and the Universe, these "young Earth adventists" believe the impossible, and they do not - or seldom listen to Reason.
Obviously, from a scientific POV, these Young Earth Adventists are understandably wrong with what they have taken to heart - but i/we have found that THEIR belief is of no importance and not even worth arguing over - other than telling them that they are wrong and ending it at that.
There is no sense in arguing the point as they are mostly set in their ways already.

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