The team also discovered a mineral that is only found in sea ice on Earth and has never been found on any other world until now. “These minerals are essential for the origin of life,” says Maria Cristina De Sanctis of the Italian-based Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica.
The team examined photos of Ceres’ surface. The NASA spacecraft Dawn made it 35 kilometers from the asteroid between Mars and Jupiter.
The Sanctis says of the discovery, “We can now say that Ceres is a kind of ocean world.” Beneath the surface of Ceres, there would be an ocean hundreds of kilometers wide and in some places as deep as 40 kilometers.
What makes the find extra special is that the researched sites in the Occator crater are geologically young. Probably the water is still being changed.
That seems to be supported by additional research by the Americans. They take into account that hills and mountains in Occator were formed by water that came up through the surface and froze there.