Pitted terrains on (1) Ceres and implications for shallow subsurface volatile distribution

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

Prior to the arrival of the Dawn spacecraft at Ceres, the dwarf planet was anticipated to be ice-rich. Searches for morphological features related to ice have been ongoing during Dawn's mission at Ceres. Here we report the identification of pitted terrains associated with fresh Cerean impact craters. The Cerean pitted terrains exhibit strong morphological similarities to pitted materials previously identified on Mars (where ice is implicated in pit development) and Vesta (where the presence of ice is debated). We employ numerical models to investigate the formation of pitted materials on Ceres and discuss the relative importance of water ice and other volatiles in pit development there. We conclude that water ice likely plays an important role in pit development on Ceres. Similar pitted terrains may be common in the asteroid belt and may be of interest to future missions motivated by both astrobiology and in situ resource utilization.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pitted terrains on (1) Ceres and implications for shallow subsurface volatile distribution
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1002/2017GL073970
Volume 44
Issue 13
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher AGU Publications
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 6570
Last page 6578
Other Geospatial Ceres