3
$\begingroup$

It has been suggested by some futuristic or sci fi leaning thinkers, that Ceres' surface might be mined for water to support human exploration and settlement of space. But NASA's Dawn mission and other observations show that it is very dark and seems to consist of "hydrated minerals" in an environment warm enough to make water ice sublimate. Does this mean that mining water on Ceres is really hard? Requiring deep drilling or excavating through thick hard surface layers before useful water ice is encountered.

Could a lander on Ceres just heat up the surface and collect water sublimating from it?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm surprised there's not more available info on this given that Dawn has been orbiting Ceres since May, but I found this article which suggests the shiny spots on Ceres are ice. scientificamerican.com/article/… It also vents/out-gases water. The Dawn spacecraft is slowly lowering it's orbit of Ceres and should get much more information over the next 12 months or so. space.com/28757-nasa-dawn-spacecraft-ceres-future.html Updates as they come in here: dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/news $\endgroup$ – userLTK Jul 31 '15 at 10:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ask the asteroid mining companies "Planetary Resources" and "Deep Space Industries". Actual and serious companies. See the websites www.planetaryresources.com and www.deepspaceindustries.com. $\endgroup$ – Jack R. Woods Sep 26 '15 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ Ceres' density (2.08 g/cc) suggests it has abundant water/ice below it's presumably mostly dry surface. That and the shiny spot (ice?) suggests to me it wouldn't too difficult. Low gravity, keep the dig in shade to prevent the ice from sublimating in direct sunlight. I'm not saying we could do it now, but with improved technology and continued space exploration, I think it should be very possible. Ceres should be a comparatively easy place to build a space elevator too. It seems a pretty good mining option. Only potential issue might be the occasional asteroid impact. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Apr 26 '16 at 7:49
2
$\begingroup$

Comments converted to community wiki

Ceres' density (2.08 g/cc) suggests it has abundant water/ice below its presumably mostly dry surface. That and the shiny spot (salts left after subsurface water has sublimated) suggests it wouldn't too difficult. Low gravity, keep the dig in shade to prevent the ice from sublimating in direct sunlight.

We could not do it now, but with improved technology and continued space exploration, it should be very possible. Ceres should be a comparatively easy place to build a space elevator too. It seems a pretty good mining option. Only potential issue might be the occasional asteroid impact.

Ask the asteroid mining companies "Planetary Resources" and "Deep Space Industries". Actual and serious companies. See the websites www.planetaryresources.com and www.deepspaceindustries.com

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.