Water Vapor From Ceres

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 6,832
    Astronomers have detected water vapor for the first time ever in the asteroid belt, which is coming from the dwarf planet Ceres.

    Water vapor has been discovered around the dwarf planet, Ceres, thanks to new data from the Herschel Space Observatory.  The planet is the largest body in the asteroid belt and is believed to be composed of a rocky core with an icy outer mantle.  This new data confirms that Ceres most likely has an icy surface and atmosphere.  Scientists say the water vapor was only seen when the dwarf planet is in the part of its orbit closer to the Sun.  This is the first time water has been detected in the asteroid belt and astronomers say this data supports the argument that asteroid and comet impacts helped deliver water to planets like Earth and Mars.  But it’s the dawn of new discovery on Ceres—kinda literally.   NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is expected to arrive at Ceres for more observations in the spring of 2015.