Dwarf planet Ceres is a compelling target as an evolved ocean world with, at least, regional brine reservoirs and potentially ongoing geological activity. As the most water-rich body in the inner solar system (in relative abundance), it is a representative of the population of planetesimals that brought volatiles and organics to the inner solar system. Situated in the Main Belt of asteroids, Ceres is accessible enough for a sample return with the resources of a typical medium-class (New Frontiers) NASA mission. Under the Discovery program, Dawn explored Ceres from 2015 to 2018. The extensive dataset revealed the presence of liquid, brine-driven activity, organic matter, and a rich salt chemistry. With this evidence, the overarching goals of the mission concept presented herein are to quantify Ceres’ current habitability potential and origin.
|Title||Planetary science decadal survey planetary mission concept study report: Ceres: Exploration of Ceres’ habitability|
|Authors||J. C. Castillo-Rogez, John Brody, Michael T. Bland, Debra Buczkowski, Robert Grimm, A. Hendrix, Kelly Miller, Thomas Prettyman, Lynnae Quick, Carol Raymond, Jennifer Scully, Michael M. Sori, Yasuhito Sekine, David Williams, Michael Zolensky|
|Publication Subtype||Federal Government Series|
|Series Title||Cooperator Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Astrogeology Science Center|