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The dwarf planet Ceres – long believed to be a barren space rock – is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface, the results of a major exploration mission showed on Monday.
The team said the salt deposits looked like they had built up within the last 2 million years – the blink of an eye in space time.
This suggests that the brine may still be ascending from the planet’s interior, something De Sanctis said could have profound implications in future studies.
“The material found on Ceres is extremely important in terms of astrobiology,” she said.
There are environments on Earth that are isolated and do not share the environmental conditions that most of life enjoys on Earth.
Because new things are often surprising. Finding life thriving around mid-ocean vents was highly surprising. Finding life on another world will also be so.
It would change a lot, yes. But surprising? Why?