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Published September 2, 2016 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Distribution of phyllosilicates on the surface of Ceres


The dwarf planet Ceres is known to host phyllosilicate minerals at its surface, but their distribution and origin have not previously been determined. We used the spectrometer onboard the Dawn spacecraft to map their spatial distribution on the basis of diagnostic absorption features in the visible and near-infrared spectral range (0.25 to 5.0 micrometers). We found that magnesium- and ammonium-bearing minerals are ubiquitous across the surface. Variations in the strength of the absorption features are spatially correlated and indicate considerable variability in the relative abundance of the phyllosilicates, although their composition is fairly uniform. These data, along with the distinctive spectral properties of Ceres relative to other asteroids and carbonaceous meteorites, indicate that the phyllosilicates were formed endogenously by a globally widespread and extensive alteration process.

Additional Information

© 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 5 February 2016; accepted 29 July 2016. We thank the Italian Space Agency (ASI), NASA, and the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt for supporting this work. The VIR instrument was funded and coordinated by the ASI and built by Selex ES, with the scientific leadership of the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, Italy, and it is operated by the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome, Italy. A portion of this work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA, under contract to NASA. Dawn data are archived in NASA's Planetary Data System; VIR spectral data may be obtained at http://sbn.psi.edu/pds/resource/dwncvir.html.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023