Ceres: Its Origin, Evolution and Structure and Dawn’s Potential Contribution

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Abstract

Ceres appears likely to be differentiated and to have experienced planetary evolution processes. This conclusion is based on current geophysical observations and thermodynamic modeling of Ceres’ evolution. This makes Ceres similar to a small planet, and in fact it is thought to represent a class of objects from which the inner planets formed. Verification of Ceres’ state and understanding of the many steps in achieving it remains a major goal. The Dawn spacecraft and its instrument package are on a mission to observe Ceres from orbit. Observations and potential results are suggested here, based on number of science questions.