Planetary science decadal survey planetary mission concept study report: Ceres: Exploration of Ceres’ habitability

Cooperator Report
By: , and 
Edited by: Timothy N. Titus

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Abstract

Dwarf planet Ceres is a compelling target as an evolved ocean world with, at least, regional brine reservoirs and potentially ongoing geological activity. As the most water-rich body in the inner solar system (in relative abundance), it is a representative of the population of planetesimals that brought volatiles and organics to the inner solar system. Situated in the Main Belt of asteroids, Ceres is accessible enough for a sample return with the resources of a typical medium-class (New Frontiers) NASA mission. Under the Discovery program, Dawn explored Ceres from 2015 to 2018. The extensive dataset revealed the presence of liquid, brine-driven activity, organic matter, and a rich salt chemistry. With this evidence, the overarching goals of the mission concept presented herein are to quantify Ceres’ current habitability potential and origin.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Planetary science decadal survey planetary mission concept study report: Ceres: Exploration of Ceres’ habitability
Series title Cooperator Report
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher NASA
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 360 p.
Other Geospatial Ceres
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