Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 6:20 EDT

Ceres Lets Off A Little Steam

January 25, 2014

Water vapor has been discovered around the dwarf planet, Ceres, thanks to new data from the Herschel Space Observatory. The planet is the largest body in the asteroid belt and is believed to be composed of a rocky core with an icy outer mantle. This new data confirms that Ceres most likely has an icy surface and atmosphere. Scientists say the water vapor was only seen when the dwarf planet was in the part of its orbit closer to the Sun. This is the first time water has been detected in the asteroid belt and astronomers say this data supports the argument that asteroid and comet impacts helped deliver water to planets like Earth and Mars. But it’s the dawn of new discovery on Ceres—kinda literally. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is expected to arrive at Ceres for more observations in the spring of 2015.

[ Read the Article: Water Vapor Spotted On Dwarf Planet Ceres ]