Ceres – a dwarf planet – may have some form of life

NASA Hubble Space Telescope color image of Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. Credit: NASA/ESA/J. Parker (Southwest Research Institute), P. Thomas (Cornell University), L. McFadden (University of Maryland, College Park), and M. Mutchler and Z. Levay (STScI)
NASA Hubble Space Telescope color image of Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. Credit: NASA/ESA/J. Parker (Southwest Research Institute), P. Thomas (Cornell University), L. McFadden (University of Maryland, College Park), and M. Mutchler and Z. Levay (STScI)

Main Point:

Researchers are of the opinion that Ceres, a dwarf planet, may have some living organisms in the form thermophilic subsurface bacteria or something like that.

Study Further:

Ceres:

Ceres is the largest celestial thing and is found to be the most massive body in the Main Asteroid Belt. It was the first to be discovered in 1801 orbiting between Mars and Saturn. It is about 1000 km in diameter and is thought to be warm enough inside pointing to the idea of some form of life in it.

Ceres Cutaway (Credit: astronaut.com/)

Astronomers are of the opinion that Ceres is not actually an asteroid but it is a small terrestrial-like icy planet that is present under the gravity of Jupiter.

“Ceres likely had an environment that could have supported life; including internal heat and a salty liquid water ocean,” said planetary physicist Thomas McCord, Director of the Bear Fight Institute in Winthrop, Washington. “Mixing of liquid water and silicates created a whole lot of chemistry that made other minerals; [such as], clay-like silicates, and perhaps some salts and carbonates.”

Further confirmation about the celestial body will be done when NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will reach Ceres in April 2015.

According to UCLA space physicist Christopher Russell, the Dawn mission’s Principal Investigator, Ceres would have a larger percentage of water as compared to Mars.

Source:

Dwarf Planet Ceres May Harbor Life; NASA Spacecraft Enroute – Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2013/10/20/dwarf-planet-ceres-may-harbor-life-nasa-spacecraft-enroute/)

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.