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SOLAR SYSTEM

Future exploration of Ceres as an ocean world

Long believed to be a primitive body, Ceres is now an ocean world with deep brines at a regional and potentially global scale. Further studies at Ceres’s conditions and — above all — a follow-up mission are needed to study its evolution and potential habitability.

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Fig. 1: Comparative ocean world planetology.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA (top left); NASA/JPL-Caltech (top right); NASA/JPL (bottom)

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Acknowledgements

The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D0004). US Government sponsorship is acknowledged. The author acknowledges discussions with many colleagues on the topic of Ceres research and implications for other ocean worlds.

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Correspondence to Julie Castillo-Rogez.

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Castillo-Rogez, J. Future exploration of Ceres as an ocean world. Nat Astron 4, 732–734 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-020-1181-5

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