NASA's Dawn space probe has identified several shadowed regions and craters on dwarf planet Ceres considered as "cold traps" or areas where ice can likely accumulate over time.
Most of these permanently shadowed areas are cold enough to trap water ice for billions of years, scientists say. This raises the possibility that ice deposits currently exist in these cold traps.
Guest investigator Norbert Schorghofer of the University of Hawaii at Manoa says the conditions on the dwarf planet are just enough for the accumulation of water ice deposits.
Ceres has the right mass to hold on to water molecules, Schorghofer says. Plus, the dwarf planet's extremely cold shadowed regions are even more frigid than regions on Mercury or on the moon.