Astronomers from NASA have discovered a huge inventory of organics on Ceres

© Nasaaraa, the image taken by the spacecraft DawnAstronomers from NASA have discovered a huge inventory of organics on Ceres© Nasipaddress to daily updates RIA Science

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The Dawn probe found on the surface of Ceres, huge reserves of organic matter, the existence of which scientists had not suspected, according to a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

«If you analyze the spectrum of Ceres, focusing on «space», not earthly organics, then it turns out that about half of its surface is covered with significant deposits of such compounds. This is much more than 6-10%, which we talked about in the recent past,» said Hannah Kaplan (Hannah Kaplan) from the southwest research Institute in boulder (USA).

First images of Ceres obtained by the Dawn probe in March of 2015 after his arrival to the dwarf planet, revealed two unusual structures that no one expected to see – a mysterious white spot in the crater Okkator caught traces of a thick «brine», and the unusual pyramidal mountain of Akhun, towering over Ceres for four kilometres.

Later Dawn and his research team found that the Sea actually is an ancient, already «extinct» cryovolcano and white spots turned out to be a temporary source of atmosphere Ceres, consisting of water vapour. In addition, in other regions, scientists have found deposits of «clean» ice, indicating that the surface of Ceres is updated continuously, as the ice is supposed to evaporate in the space, as well as traces of organic compounds.

As Kaplan says, the accumulation of organic matter, open Dawn almost immediately after arriving to Ceres, was considered a commonplace feature of dwarf planets and did not arouse much interest among planetary scientists, before the probe found the first hints of the existence of a water ocean in the depths of Ceres.

This discovery led scientists to think about how organic matter present on the surface of the dwarf planet and in its depths could influence the composition of the waters of this ocean and its evolution in the past. These ideas, in turn, prompted Kaplan and her colleagues to reanalyze the data on the spectrum of Ceres, Dawn collected, and re-calculate the percentage of organic matter on its surface.

Performing these routine measurements, the scientists noticed that the rocks on the surface of Ceres was closer in composition to the so-called carbonaceous chondrites, one of the most common types of asteroids than to Earth and to other planets. This led them to suggest that its reserves of organic matter may have a similar origin.

Such a hypothesis, in turn has one important consequence – «spaceship» organic is a completely different structure and spectrum than those compounds which can be found on Earth, Titan, and other planets of the Solar system, and otherwise interacting with water. Based on this assumption, the scientists re-analyzed data that were collected infrared spectrometers Dawn.

As it turned out, on the surface of Ceres is noticeably more organic matter than previously thought, scientists – it covers about half its surface, not 6-10%, as did members of the research team before Dawn.

This conclusion came as a big surprise to scientists. As noted by Kaplan, the presence of such large stocks of organic matter cannot be explained by the fact that Ceres is constantly falling chondrites or comet with the same chemical composition – they contain or too little of these substances, or be too large in order to «survive» the fall of the dwarf planet.

As scientists hope, the other two interplanetary mission, «Hayabusa-2» and OSIRIS-REx will help us solve this mystery by analyzing the chemical composition of chondrites from close range and bringing fragments of their rocks back to Earth.