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Find Out the Truth About the Mysterious Missing Crater of Ceres

Jul 28, 2016 04:36 AM EDT
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Dawn LAMO Image 36
The Dawn spacecraft discovered that the dwarf planet Ceres is missing massive craters that are supposed to be present on its surface.
(Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

Dwarf planet Ceres dumbfounded scientists when different images of it proved its craters were missing.

The Dawn spacecraft is tasked to capture images of Ceres and it started the mission last year. Ceres, a dwarf planet near-Earth and was currently a subject of study and debate due to its disappearing and massive craters.

Ceres is located at the biggest asteroid belt, which means most bodies in the region should have marks from impacts. But as the Dawn spacecraft flyby data arrived, the results came as a surprise as there are no huge craters visible from the images, only small ones not bigger than 15-mile wide.

Based on the computer-simulated impacts, it was confirmed that Ceres is missing craters that should be present on its surface. The study was conducted by the Southwest Research Institute and due to Ceres' strategic location between Mars and Jupiter, there should be impact-caused remnants on its surface about 10 to 15 that are 250 miles across. But the Dawn photos showed there are none of the huge craters on Ceres. The findings were published in the journal of Nature Communications according to LA Times.

"Ceres is thought to have formed at the dawn of the solar system, some one to ten million years or so after the onset of formation," Simone Marchi said in an interview with the Guardian. "Thus, Ceres is a witness to the tumultuous early days where collisions were much more frequent and violent than today."

According to the research, the icy interiors of the dwarf planet could have caused the disappearance of the craters since the interiors have a tendency to move. The ground freshens itself after long periods of times. But there are other theories that might explain why they aren't many craters on Ceres, one is that the dwarf planet may have "cryovolcanoes" in the ancient times spewing water and ice erasing the craters in the surface.

Studies are currently ongoing to further understand the mystery of missing craters on Ceres. But its rarity has won over the attention of scientists around the world, thanks to the discovery of NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

 

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