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posted by martyb on Thursday September 14, @05:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the where'd-they-hide-the-blender? dept.

Evidence of ground ice has been found on Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the asteroid belt:

Research at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering has revealed new evidence for the occurrence of ground ice on the protoplanet Vesta.

[...] The team used a special technique called "bistatic radar" on the Dawn spacecraft to explore the surface texture of Vesta at the scale of a few inches. On some orbits, when the spacecraft was about to travel behind Vesta from Earth's perspective, its radio communications waves bounced off Vesta's surface, and mission personnel on the ground at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) received the signals back on Earth.

Vesta was thought to be a dry body:

Now, thanks to the latest round of results from NASA's Dawn mission, we have learned Asimov was right about Vesta all along. As researchers at the University of Southern California write in Tuesday's Nature Communications [open, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00434-6] [DX], the probe discovered unusually large smooth regions on the otherwise craggy asteroids. The researchers linked these with higher hydrogen concentrations, which in turn strongly suggest the presence of ground ice on Vesta.

"It was believed to be a dry body," NASA researcher Essam Heggy, Ph.D. tells Inverse, saying previous evidence for water on Vesta had, at best, been ambiguous. Dawn's findings erase those ambiguities. It's just the latest of many findings in recent years showing that water and ice are damn near everywhere in the solar system, adding Vesta to a list that already includes Mars, the moons Europa and Enceladus, and its fellow asteroid Ceres. "The more we search, the more we find ice and water in the solar system," says Heggy, "and the more we realize water is not unique to our planet."


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @05:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @05:22AM (#567651)

    Water water everywhere

    nor a drop to drink

    that's why the plants crave

    electro-lyte

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @05:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @05:49AM (#567661)

    I'm going to investa in that idea.

  • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Thursday September 14, @06:38AM

    by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @06:38AM (#567672)

    (No spoilers pls, I've yet to watch season 2)

  • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Thursday September 14, @08:00AM

    by NotSanguine (285) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @08:00AM (#567685) Homepage Journal

    That the resources are out there. We *can* be a space-faring civilization.

    What we need is the money, the research and the engineering to make it happen.

    So what the hell are you doing wasting time on SN? Let's go out there!

    --
    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
  • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday September 14, @08:06AM (3 children)

    by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 14, @08:06AM (#567687)

    Where there is ground ice, there is vodka chili cocktail.
    Where there is vodka chili cocktail, there is civilization.
    We found civilization outside planet earth.

    If we only found some civilization inside planet earth too.

  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday September 14, @09:53AM

    by PiMuNu (3823) on Thursday September 14, @09:53AM (#567712)

    I note that the evidence presented is consistent with any fluid containing hydrogen, for example liquid hydrocarbons. Specifically:

    * It is flat
    * It contains hydrogen
    * It can make geomorphological features characteristic of fluid flows.

    I didn't find the paper on "geomorphological features" but I don't see how fluid flow can be possible in low pressure/gravity environment i.e. any fluid would boil off and become lost. Or is it not quite that "low gravity".

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @04:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, @04:23PM (#567887)

    I've heard that space is pretty cold. Does it have to be water? Other "liquids" freeze into solids similar to water.

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