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Monday, October 24, 2016

Planetary scientists have uncovered the mystery of the disappearance of craters on Ceres

The dwarf planet Ceres, in orbit, which last year released research unit Dawn, conceals many mysteries, and unusual bright spots — only one of them. A recent study conducted by experts from the southwest research Institute in boulder, was dedicated to a different question — why on the surface there are no large craters. Theoretical calculations show that in the past they were supposed to be, but in this case, until now it was unclear how they could disappear.

photo: ru.wikipedia.org

Scientists have unveiled a computer model, according to which over 4.5 billion years of existence of the Solar system on Ceres had to fall 10-15 meteorites, which left craters with a diameter of more than 400 kilometers, and 40 space objects, craters from collisions which would have been more than 100 kilometers in diameter. Nevertheless, as observations show, craters, the diameter of which overcomes one hundred km mark or at least close to it, on the dwarf planet only 16, and the largest crater Caruana — is only 285 kilometers.

The most likely explanation of the observed phenomenon, scientists can see that the geological processes on Ceres could contribute to the “overgrowing” of the craters. This, in turn, suggests that the subsurface of the dwarf planet remained “alive” for a very long time — for example on Mars or on the moon’s internal geologic activity waned rather quickly, causing the surface of these space objects still keeps the memory of falling asteroids that occurred billions of years ago.

While geological processes on Ceres, according to the researchers, are inherently different from the observed, for example, on Earth. According to specialists, frozen water and some salts are contained in the bowels of the dwarf planet, when heated, the result approaches the Sun, or the fall of the asteroid may heat, mix, and create a so-called cryovolcanism.

On the obtained findings, the scientists reported in the pages of the scientific publication Nature Communications.

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