Ceres, the most water-rich body in the inner solar system after Earth, has recently been recognized to have astrobiological importance. Chemical and physical measurements obtained by the Dawn mission enabled the quantification of key parameters, which helped to constrain the habitability of the inner solar system's only dwarf planet. The surface chemistry and internal structure of Ceres testify to a protracted history of reactions between liquid water, rock, and likely organic compounds. We review the clues on chemical composition, temperature, and prospects for long-term occurrence of liquid and chemical gradients. Comparisons with giant planet satellites indicate similarities both from a chemical evolution standpoint and in the physical mechanisms driving Ceres' internal evolution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science