Mystery Type: Phenomenon
Mystery Name: Organic Material Discovery Suggests Life Could Exist onCeres
Country: United States
Place Name: NASA-Headquaters – Ceres dwarf planet
NASA’s Dawn mission has detected tar-like organic compounds on the dwarf planet’s surface, bolstering prospects for life on the largest body in the asteroid belt. Scientists looking for life beyond Earth have a new target relatively close to home.
The dwarf planet Ceres, which orbits in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, has organic compounds on its surface, a paper published in this week’s Science shows.
The discovery, made with NASA’s orbiting Dawn spacecraft, follows earlier findings that the 590-mile wide Ceres may have an ocean beneath its frozen surface.
“There are speculations about a subsurface ocean on Ceres, similar to Europa or Enceladus,” planetary scientist Michael Kuppers, with the European Space Astronomy Center in Madrid, told Seeker.
Europa, a moon of Jupiter, and Enceladus, a moon circling Saturn, are two prime targets in the search for life beyond Earth.
“I do think Ceres is a good target for searches for life outside Earth,” Kuppers said. “In addition to distance, the radiation environment is more benign than, for example, Europa.”
What kind of biological life was found?
Type: Other Planets
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This mystery has been reported by Lobcor on 02/17/2017
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