Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We've been paying all of this attention to Pluto...

...but it's not the only dwarf planet being explored right now.

Ceres also has attention. The largest object in the asteroid belt is being studied by the Dawn probe. And data from the probe has given us this.

There's a lot of contrast between the two. Pluto appears to be tectonically active with a young surface. Ceres? Ceres looks more like the moon. And the key difference may be that Ceres is older (and considerably smaller).

Whatever subsurface ocean Ceres may have had - and the evidence is that it had one - has now frozen solid.

There might be life on Pluto. There's almost certainly nothing on Ceres - which may be a good thing for humanity. Ceres' water might be key to exploring and exploiting the asteroid belt.