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Water, water everywhere on dwarf planet Ceres

Hydrogen on Ceres
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft determined the hydrogen content of the upper yard, or meter, of Ceres’ surface. Blue indicates where hydrogen content is higher, near the poles, while red indicates lower content at lower latitudes. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA / PSI Photo)

Readings from instruments aboard NASA’s Dawn orbiter support the view that a treasure trove of frozen water lies just beneath the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres.

Researchers reported those findings today at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting San Francisco, as well as in two papers published by Nature Astronomy and Science.

The findings are based on hydrogen readings from Dawn’s gamma ray and neutron detector, or GRaND, as well as from the spacecraft’s cameras and infrared mapping spectrometer.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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