Scientists from the Brown University took the time to study the vast volume of data collected by the NASA’s Dawn probe which examines Ceres, the small planet located in the Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter. According to what they found, there might be organic matter on Ceres even more than previously estimated, in 2017.
In a 2017 study’s report, published by Science Daily, the NASA’s scientists stated that Ceres possesses organic material. Now, in another research carried out by the scientists from the Brown University it was revealed that Ceres holds carbon-based compounds, even more than the NASA scientists believed.
There is organic matter on Ceres, but this doesn’t mean there is life
Finding organic matter on Ceres is not indicating that Ceres houses life as these elements, such as the carbon-based compounds, may appear upon chemical processes that are not biologically in nature.
On the other hand, life can only exist under the presence of this compounds, also known as “blocks of life.”
However, these new findings raise many questions about Ceres and what the planet’s surface might house, taking into account that this rock might have water and water ice.
Also, the scientists concluded, Ceres possesses more organic materials than previous studies have estimated.
The recent study is also essential for future asteroids exploration
However, the new research is not solving one puzzle, namely, how did that organic matter reach on Ceres. But, according to the authors, this new research is providing new opportunities when it comes to analyzing data collected by space probes.
“What this paper show is that you can get different results depending upon the type of organic material you use to compare with and interpret the Ceres data. That’s important (…) also for missions that will soon explore asteroids that may also contain organic matter,” explained Hannah Kaplan from the Brown University.