Testing the outer Solar System origin of asteroid 1-Ceres with experimental petrology

  • Project title: Testing the outer Solar System origin of asteroid 1-Ceres with experimental petrology
  • Supervisors (*corresponding): Mathew Izawa*, Takuo Okuchi, Shigeru Yamashita
  • Number of students: up to 2

Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt and only dwarf planet in the inner solar system, has many enigmatic features, including the apparent presence of ammonium-bearing phyllosilicates. One interpretation of the surface properties of Ceres is that it was accreted in the outer solar system, and incorporated a substantial fraction of water-ice and ammonia. In this model, Ceres subsequently migrated to its current heliocentric distance due to giant planet migration, and reactions between primary nebular silicates and the ammonia-bearing ice mantle produced ammonium-rich phyllosilicates. To test this model, we will conduct experiments evaluating the reaction of ammonia-water solutions with carbonaceous chondrites to learn if the mineralogy of the reaction products resembles that of the modern surface of Ceres.