In the asteroid belt, an immense region of space between Mars and Jupiter, millions of rocky bodies serenely move around the sun in a timeless cosmic dance. Queen among the dancers is Ceres, the belt’s largest object and a “fossil” from the early days of the solar system. In 2007, NASA launched the Dawn spacecraft to the belt to study Ceres up close. After surveying the dwarf planet, tracing its blemishes and examining its sullen features, scientists reasoned it was once home to a global ocean that had frozen over.
On Monday, a suite of seven studies in the journal Nature scrutinize extended mission data from Dawn, peering at Ceres’ dull, lifeless shell and finding definitive evidence that it is an ocean world. https://www.cnet.com/features/ceres-a-dwarf-planet-in-the-asteroid-belt-hides-an-underground-ocean/