Ceres — Dwarf planet continues to open up its mysteries. This alien world has permanently shadowed regions, some of which are cold enough to hoard water for a billion years, researchers identified. The discovery, made with the help of the data provided by NaSa’s Dawn mission, suggests that ice deposits could still exist on the planet.
These regions are unable to receive direct sunlight where water ice is believed to accumulate. These are mostly found in hidden sections of the crater wall facing the pole or on crater floors. Those places are a good area to find water ice collected for years, If the temperature stays below -240 degrees, NaSa believes. These ‘cold traps’ were distinctly identified for the first time ever.
The Ceres’ northern hemisphere images, the more illuminated region, were combined by the researchers to make the dwarf planet’s shape in 3D. “We have discovered dozens of permanently shadowed regions; the largest is within a 10-mile-wide crater less than 40 miles from the north pole,” scientists revealed.
The researchers identified a total of 695 square miles of shadowed region, which is less than 1% of the total surface area of Ceres’ northern hemisphere. Erwan Mazarico, Dawn guest investigator said in a statement “When it comes to Ceres, these regions act as cold traps down to comparatively low-latitudes. On the Mercury and the moon, only the permanently shadowed regions near to the poles get cold enough for ice to be stable on the surface.”
On June 30th, Dawn completed its mission on the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn used its remaining fuel by performing a flyby in the other mysteries body. But NaSa’s Planetary Mission Senior Review Panel planned to extend Dawn’s mission in Ceres instead on the scientist’s proposal.
about one of every 1,000 water molecules generated on Ceres will end up in a cold trap during a year on Ceres, which equals 1,682 Earth days, scientists estimated. This, as per the researchers, should be enough to form thin, but visible ice deposits over 100,000 years.