Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

GRaND Seeks Subsurface Water Ice on Ceres
by Staff Writers
Tucson AZ (SPX) Mar 23, 2016

File image.

The Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRaND) aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft is mapping the elemental composition of Ceres in a low altitude orbit, about 240 miles (385 kilometers) above the surface of the dwarf planet.

"GRaND is in excellent health and operations have gone smoothly during the Ceres encounter, enabling us to acquire a high quality data set," said PSI Senior Scientist Thomas Prettyman, Dawn mission co-investigator and lead for GRaND.

Neutrons and gamma rays produced by cosmic ray interactions with surface materials provide a fingerprint of Ceres' chemical makeup. The data will be analyzed to determine the concentration of chemical elements within the topmost 3 feet (1 meter) of Ceres' surface.

Data relevant to the possibility of subsurface ice are emerging from GRaND, which began acquisition of its primary data set in December. In Dawn's lowest-altitude orbit, the instrument has detected fewer neutrons near the poles of Ceres than at the equator, which indicates increased hydrogen concentration at high latitudes. As hydrogen is a principal constituent of water, water ice could be present close to the surface in polar regions.

"Our analyses will test a longstanding prediction that water ice can survive just beneath Ceres' cold, high latitude surface for billions of years," Prettyman said.

High-energy cosmic rays produce neutrons and gamma rays when they interact with materials in the outermost layer of the cerean surface. In addition, gamma rays are made by the decay of radioelements, such as potassium and thorium, found in rocks and soil.

A portion of the radiation escapes into space. In low altitude orbit, GRaND can detect radiation originating from Ceres. The spectrum of gamma rays and neutrons measured by GRaND provides information about surface elemental composition. The chemical data contain clues about Ceres' origins and evolution.

Prettyman's work is funded by a grant from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. GRaND is managed by the Planetary Science Institute.


Related Links
Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRaND)
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Unexpected changes of bright spots on Ceres discovered
Pasadena CA (JPL) Mar 18, 2016
Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and the only such object classed as a dwarf planet. NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been in orbit around Ceres for more than a year and has mapped its surface in great detail. One of the biggest surprises has been the discovery of very bright spots, which reflect far more light than their much darker surroundings. The most ... read more

Permanent Lunar Colony Possible in 10 Years

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

ExoMars probe imaged en route to Mars

New Gravity Map Gives Best View Yet Inside Mars

How the ExoMars mission could sniff out life on Mars

ExoMars on its way to solve the Red Planet's mysteries

NASA Selects American Small Business, Research Institution Projects for Continued Development

Broomstick flying or red-light ping-pong? Gadgets at German fair

Jacobs Joins Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

Accelerating discovery with new tools for next generation social science

China to establish first commercial rocket launch company

China's aim to explore Mars

China's ambition after space station

Sky is the limit for China's national strategy

Grandpa astronaut to break Scott Kelly's space record

Orbital set to send resupply mission to space station

Three new members join crew of International Space Station

Cygnus Set to Deliver Its Largest Load of Station Science, Cargo

Launch of Dragon Spacecraft to ISS Postponed Until April

ILS and INMARSAT Agree To Future Proton Launch

Soyuz 2-1B Carrier Rocket Launched From Baikonur

ISRO launches PSLV C32, India's sixth navigation satellite

Most eccentric planet ever known flashes astronomers with reflected light

VLA shows earliest stages of planet formation

VLA observes earliest stages of planet formation

NASA's K2 mission: Kepler second chance to shine

The updated crystalline sponge method

International research team achieves controlled movement of skyrmions

Smart clothing of the future will automatically adjust itself

Light helps the transistor laser switch faster

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.