Data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft show that there is an abundance of carbon on Ceres.
Dawn ended its mission on November 1, 2018. However, the spacecraft has remained in orbit around Ceres 257 million miles from Earth. Propelled by an ion engine, the craft was the first to ever visit a dwarf planet. And, in its orbit around Ceres, Dawn has now collected data that provides evidence of organic matter on the planet’s surface.
In a new study detailing these findings, a team from Texas’ Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) concluded that Ceres’ surface might have more than five times as much carbon as most carbon-rich meteorites found on Earth.