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1.
Sci Rep ; 9(1): 4045, 2019 Feb 25.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30837500

RESUMO

The Martian outflow channels comprise some of the largest known channels in the Solar System. Remote-sensing investigations indicate that cataclysmic floods likely excavated the channels ~3.4 Ga. Previous studies show that, in the southern circum-Chryse region, their flooding pathways include hundreds of kilometers of channel floors with upward gradients. However, the impact of the reversed channel-floor topography on the cataclysmic floods remains uncertain. Here, we show that these channel floors occur within a vast basin, which separates the downstream reaches of numerous outflow channels from the northern plains. Consequently, floods propagating through these channels must have ponded, producing an inland sea, before reaching the northern plains as enormous spillover discharges. The resulting paleohydrological reconstruction reinterprets the 1997 Pathfinder landing site as part of a marine spillway, which connected the inland sea to a hypothesized northern plains ocean. Our flood simulation shows that the presence of the sea would have permitted the propagation of low-depth floods beyond the areas of reversed channel-floor topography. These results explain the formation at the landing site of possible fluvial features indicative of flow depths at least an order of magnitude lower than those apparent from the analyses of orbital remote-sensing observations.

2.
Science ; 353(6303)2016 09 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27701087

RESUMO

Volcanic edifices are abundant on rocky bodies of the inner solar system. In the cold outer solar system, volcanism can occur on solid bodies with a water-ice shell, but derived cryovolcanic constructs have proved elusive. We report the discovery, using Dawn Framing Camera images, of a landform on dwarf planet Ceres that we argue represents a viscous cryovolcanic dome. Parent material of the cryomagma is a mixture of secondary minerals, including salts and water ice. Absolute model ages from impact craters reveal that extrusion of the dome has occurred recently. Ceres' evolution must have been able to sustain recent interior activity and associated surface expressions. We propose salts with low eutectic temperatures and thermal conductivities as key drivers for Ceres' long-term internal evolution.

3.
Science ; 353(6303)2016 09 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27701088

RESUMO

Analysis of Dawn spacecraft Framing Camera image data allows evaluation of the topography and geomorphology of features on the surface of Ceres. The dwarf planet is dominated by numerous craters, but other features are also common. Linear structures include both those associated with impact craters and those that do not appear to have any correlation to an impact event. Abundant lobate flows are identified, and numerous domical features are found at a range of scales. Features suggestive of near-surface ice, cryomagmatism, and cryovolcanism have been identified. Although spectroscopic analysis has currently detected surface water ice at only one location on Ceres, the identification of these potentially ice-related features suggests that there may be at least some ice in localized regions in the crust.

4.
Nature ; 528(7581): 237-40, 2015 Dec 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26659183

RESUMO

The dwarf planet (1) Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt with a mean diameter of about 950 kilometres, is located at a mean distance from the Sun of about 2.8 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is the Earth-Sun distance). Thermal evolution models suggest that it is a differentiated body with potential geological activity. Unlike on the icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, where tidal forces are responsible for spewing briny water into space, no tidal forces are acting on Ceres. In the absence of such forces, most objects in the main asteroid belt are expected to be geologically inert. The recent discovery of water vapour absorption near Ceres and previous detection of bound water and OH near and on Ceres (refs 5-7) have raised interest in the possible presence of surface ice. Here we report the presence of localized bright areas on Ceres from an orbiting imager. These unusual areas are consistent with hydrated magnesium sulfates mixed with dark background material, although other compositions are possible. Of particular interest is a bright pit on the floor of crater Occator that exhibits probable sublimation of water ice, producing haze clouds inside the crater that appear and disappear with a diurnal rhythm. Slow-moving condensed-ice or dust particles may explain this haze. We conclude that Ceres must have accreted material from beyond the 'snow line', which is the distance from the Sun at which water molecules condense.

5.
Science ; 336(6082): 687-90, 2012 May 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22582254

RESUMO

Vesta's surface is characterized by abundant impact craters, some with preserved ejecta blankets, large troughs extending around the equatorial region, enigmatic dark material, and widespread mass wasting, but as yet an absence of volcanic features. Abundant steep slopes indicate that impact-generated surface regolith is underlain by bedrock. Dawn observations confirm the large impact basin (Rheasilvia) at Vesta's south pole and reveal evidence for an earlier, underlying large basin (Veneneia). Vesta's geology displays morphological features characteristic of the Moon and terrestrial planets as well as those of other asteroids, underscoring Vesta's unique role as a transitional solar system body.

6.
Nature ; 437(7056): 224-6, 2005 Sep 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-16148926

RESUMO

The accretion of bodies in the asteroid belt was halted nearly 4.6 billion years ago by the gravitational influence of the newly formed giant planet Jupiter. The asteroid belt therefore preserves a record of both this earliest epoch of Solar System formation and variation of conditions within the solar nebula. Spectral features in reflected sunlight indicate that some asteroids have experienced sufficient thermal evolution to differentiate into layered structures. The second most massive asteroid--4 Vesta--has differentiated to a crust, mantle and core. 1 Ceres, the largest and most massive asteroid, has in contrast been presumed to be homogeneous, in part because of its low density, low albedo and relatively featureless visible reflectance spectrum, similar to carbonaceous meteorites that have suffered minimal thermal processing. Here we show that Ceres has a shape and smoothness indicative of a gravitationally relaxed object. Its shape is significantly less flattened than that expected for a homogeneous object, but is consistent with a central mass concentration indicative of differentiation. Possible interior configurations include water-ice-rich mantles over a rocky core.

7.
Science ; 251(4995): 777-80, 1991 Feb 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17775456

RESUMO

Asteroid 2060 Chiron is the largest known object exhibiting cometary activity. Radiometric observations made in 1983 from a ground-based telescope and the Infrared Astronomical Satellite are used to examine the limits on Chiron's diameter and albedo. It is argued that Chiron's surface temperature distribution at that time is best described by an "isothermal latitude" or "rapid-rotator" model. Consequently, Chiron has a maximum diameter of 372 kilometers and a minimum geometric albedo of 2.7%. This is much bigger and darker than previous estimates, and suggests that gravity may play a significant role in the evolution of gas and dust emissions. It is also found that for large obliquities, surface temperatures can vary dramatically on time scales of a decade, and that such geometry may play a critical role in explaining Chiron's observed photometric behavior since its discovery in 1977.

8.
Science ; 237(4820): 1336-40, 1987 Sep 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17801472

RESUMO

On 16 August 1983 the Infrared Astronomical Satellite made two separate pointed observations of Pluto and its moon Charon. Because of the small angular displacement of the system between the times of measurement, the Pluto-Charon system was identified as a source in the Serendipitous Survey (SSC 14029+0518). Detections were made at 60 and 100 micrometers with color-corrected flux densities of 581 +/- 58 and 721 +/- 123 millijanskys, respectively. Pluto is best described as having a dark equatorial band, and brighter polar caps of methane ice extending to +/-45 degrees latitude, at most. An upper limit of approximately 9 meter-amagats is placed on the column abundance of a methane atmosphere on Pluto, which is comparable to recent upper limits based on independent ground-based spectroscopy.

9.
Science ; 232(4754): 1115-7, 1986 May 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17754499

RESUMO

Analysis of data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite has yielded evidence for narrow trails of dust coincident with the orbits of periodic comets Tempel 2, Encke, and Gunn. Dust was found both ahead of and behind the orbital positions of these comets. This dust was produced by the low-velocity ejection of large particles during perihelion passage. More than 100 additional dust trails are suggested by the data, almost all near the detection limits of the satellite. Many of these dust trails may be derived from previously unobserved comets.

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