Water Spotted on Solar System's Largest Asteroid, Raising Questions About Life There
The dwarf planet Ceres releases water vapor from two locations, scientists say.
Water spewing from icy volcanoes or ice patches may adorn our solar system's largest asteroid and smallest dwarf planet, known as Ceres, an international astronomy team says, instantly raising questions about the possibility of life there.
Other objects in that elite club include icy worlds like Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus, where signs of water plumes hint at water under an icy surface where alien life might survive. (See: "Could Some Alien Worlds Be More Habitable Than Earth?")
"Ceres is indeed an icy object with the potential of a subsurface ocean," says European Space Agency astronomer Michael Küppers, who led the Nature journal study.
Past observations attempting to confirm indirect hints of water on Ceres had been thwarted