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SCI/TECH: Ceres... Fresh Water and a Planet?

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posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:46 AM
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Well it looks like we might possibly still have nine planets in our Solar System, considering the debate about Pluto and it's status as a planet. Here, after a little more than 250 pictures from Hubble, Cornell University might have found more fresh water on the Ceres asteroid than there is on Earth. These discoveries lead some scientists to rethink what defines a planet.
 



www.space.com
The largest known asteroid could contain more fresh water than Earth and looks like our planet in other ways, according to a new study that further blurs the line between planets and large space rocks.

But computer models now suggest Ceres has a differentiated interior – dense material in the core and lighter stuff near the surface. Possible configurations include a mantle rich in water ice around a rocky core.

The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion cubic kilometers, around 41 million of which is fresh water. If Ceres' mantle accounts for 25 percent of the asteroid's mass, that would translate to an upper limit of 200 million cubic kilometers of water, Parker said.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


After reading this article I think that planetary science models might have to be revamped to more accurately define what planets are. With what I've read about Pluto's questionable planet status and now this story, we might just need that to help with how we can discover other planets around distant stars.

Even interplanetary travel, or even interstellar travel, could be helped if it is proven that Ceres has all this water. That means we could use that big rock as a "Supply Station" of sorts for water, hydroponics, and rocket fuel using electrolysis to make hydrogen...

Related News Links:
science.nasa.gov




posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 08:22 AM
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Interesting stuff.

Wouldn't it be interesting if this rock would have life too?
That'd be quite bizarre but it is possible, perhaps silicone based life? even though the possibility of such is still being disputed...



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 08:27 AM
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I think the solar system actually has eight planets. This asteroid is not a planet, and Pluto is probably one of dozens of similar objects beyond Neptune and really not a planet either.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 08:51 AM
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Very interesting, and thanks for finding that! The Earth does need to solve a fresh water problem, and Ceres might provide some impetus for exploration. We can't continue to stay locked on this planet forever.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:39 AM
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I see a future where humans (or later evolved forms) regularly snag asteroids from nearby space, colonize them, put them into stable orbits, or even make colony ships that can travel independantly among the stars.

Humans have a tendancy to need a good old chunk of "earth" to feel grounded, and "home". If we are to go to the stars, I doubt it will be with manmade ships that have limited space, and comfort.

asteroids usually have a microgravity, which would help long travelers feel more at home, and need less adjustment time to get used to a new heavier gravity upon return to earth.

they also have extensive resources, that could be used as needed for new metal parts, water, oxygen, and more...

so perhaps we need to think more along the lines of building a colony pod, and engine that could be attached to an asteroid, rather than build it all from scratch.

we can land on asteroids, so how much harder would it be, to strap engines to one, use them to slow and stop it, and then change its course, to hijack it. ?



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 10:10 AM
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--Lazarus

That's actually a primary view for the future. There have been many who propose that in the future we send automated mining/refining craft out to the asteroid belt, strap rockets to a few rocks, and fire them back towards Earth (slowly, of course). By the time they arrived, all the useable raw materials would be mined and refined, and we could just off load the materials onto stations to be used for craft development or fueling, etc.

Others have suggested we use asteroids such as Ceres to implant water on Mars to give it an atmosphere and make it habitable. Likely we could take Pluto, Charon, and many of the asteroids in the belt and increase the overall mass of Mars (this would take a long time, with potential dangerous side effects. i.e. tidbits flying off and hitting Earth, disrupting the balanced orbit of Mars and/or Earth, etc...)

Lots of cool things out on the horizon, if we live that long...



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 11:15 AM
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Wow...
that is a great idea...
Slam ceres (or other water asteroid) into mars...
instant evolution... all the things it needs to greenify, except a hot center...
maybe a huge asteroid collision would do that also...

If done right, with a hit at the correct angle, they could increase Mars spin, and thereby increase its heat/gravity.
add the water and steam, caused by the collision, we could have a marginally habitable planet in decades... (albiet still very dangerous).


TPL

posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 12:14 PM
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The idea of smashing an asteroid into Mars might not work, Mars' smaller than Earth and therfore has a weaker gravitational pull, that's why its atmosphere is thin and any atmosphere we add would be lost to space.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 08:28 PM
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I first read about Ceres having more fresh water than the entire planet Earth a couple of months ago and ever since then I have thought it would make a great supply station for interplanetary exploration & exploitation. It's gravity is negligible, so getting things on or off the asteriod would not be a problem.

On another line of thought, it might make a great deal of difference to the planet Mars in terms of habitability, the provision of an above ground available water supply, etc. if we could figure out how to get it to impact Mars. It is big enough that it's mass would increase Mars's gravity slightly (which would help with retaining an atmosphere), the impact would serve to warm Mars up a bit and the release of millions of tons of water vapor into the Martian atmosphere would help to retain that heat and raise the surface atmospheric pressure (not to the point of unsupported breathability, but much better than now). The introduction of Earthly plants and micro-organisms would then be possible and the amount of oxygen in the Martian atmosphere could thereby be raised, etc., etc., etc... Of course, if we knew how to get Ceres to impact Mars then we would also know how to get other celestial objects to do the same and could thereby increase Mars even further.

I'm certainly not talking about an overnight process here, but Mars could indeed be terraformed to the point it could support human habitation, without reliance on artificial means. If mankind could get started on something like that within the next 100 years, we might be able to keep from killing ourselves under ever increasing piles of our own excrement.

[edit on 8-11-2005 by Astronomer68]



posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 02:42 AM
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this is pointed mainly at lazurus,
how long is it going to be before every one realises that a planets rate of spin has no effect on the amount of gravity it has.
its from the mass of the planet,
venus has almost the same gravity as earth, but its day last 270 or something of our days.

i dont think putting more water on our planet would solve the fresh water problem,.

water vapour is the biggest contributer to the green house effect, and if we were to put more water on it would certanily have much more effect then co2 does now


if we could pump all that water down on to mars it might be a good idea, smashing the asteroid into it isnt a good idea.



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