Jul 26, 2017 | Updated: 12:11 PM EDT

NASA Finds Evidence Of Organic Material And Life Possibilty On Planet Ceres

Feb 17, 2017 03:27 AM EST

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The space shuttle Columbia flies into a cloudbank which it illuminated after liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center March 1, 2002 in Cape Canaveral, FL.
(Photo : NASA/Getty Images)

Evidence of organic material has been found by NASA's mission "Dawn" on "Ceres", a dwarf planet which interestingly is also the biggest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Organic materials always ignite the possibility of life and scientists are now looking more closely at Ceres for any such possibility.

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According to NASA, organic materials are one of the components of life on Earth, though not sufficient. They have been found so far in certain meteorites and several asteroids as well. This finding of the organic materials in Ceres has strengthened the connection between the dwarf planet, these meteorites and their originating bodies.

The data presented by NASA scientists about Ceres provides evidence about the chemical reaction that takes place in presence of water and heat, which in turn raises the possibility of the organics developing in a warm water-rich environment. The studies have also found that Ceres has attributes that point to the ingredients of life in the distant past where chemicals like hydrated minerals, carbonates, water ice and ammoniated clays have been altered by water. Salts and sodium carbonate found in bright areas around the Occator crater are also believed to have been carried down by liquids.

According to ABC News, the scientists are of the opinion that the organic materials found on Ceres are molecules that can lead to the generation of more complex compounds. The organic materials were found lying 100 kilometers in and around the Emutet crater and on the rim of another crater 400 kilometers away.

The scientists also believe that the materials found are not generated due to some kind of impact, like an asteroid smashing into Ceres. Rather, they were produced by certain hydrothermal activities on the surface of Ceres. The scientists also have evidence that the inner core of the dwarf planet is more wet and mushy and there is every possibility of hydrothermal processes that can exist on Ceres, giving rise to organic materials.

The scientists are now planning on how to detect the molecules elsewhere on Ceres, other than the rim and surroundings of the craters, one of which was formed by an asteroid hit. This will lead to finding the organic materials of which the dwarf planet is formed. 

 

 

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