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back to article Herschel boffins spot fat dwarf Ceres in TEARS over astro-identity crisis

As every chubby kid will know, it's no fun being bigger than all the other children in the playground. So spare a thought for Ceres, the solar system's largest and roundest asteroid, which is so upset about being fat that it's crying watery tears way out in space. Boffins used Europe's infrared Herschel space telescope to peer …

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Dwarf planet, asteroid

or steampunk Deathstar?

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Re: Dwarf planet, asteroid

Dwarf planet, asteroid, or deathstar - whichever one you pick: That's no moon...

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Re: Dwarf planet, asteroid

> steampunk Deathstar?

Not enough bronze.

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says

A little leakage at the seals, I believe. They should fix that.

The water tanks have been inserted, the plug seals are in and the solar arrays are under construction. Once the arrays are complete, aimed and Ceres is inflated by steam pressure the Belters will have their Confinement Asteroid and us Flatlanders will be in for even more political strife.

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Re: says

Sorry, the fuel depot sprang a minor leak. We'll be getting it sealed and things tidied up before your ship can arrive.

Well, assuming you ever *do* get your lazy butts off of that rock of yours.

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Re: says

Keep your asteroid but stay away from Mars.

Earth.

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Windows

I feel sorry for my two oldest kids. Their middle name is Herschel.

Think they got over the "Your grandfather discovered Uranus" jokes by now.

My youngest has "Madetoja". Famous Finnish composer.

I'm not even gonna try to work it out.....

(Yeah, I look like the icon. So what?)

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>I feel sorry for my two oldest kids. Their middle name is Herschel.

Not sorry enough to have done anything about it when you had the chance, though? Did their mum come with non-optional frying-pan accessory, by any chance?

>Think they got over the "Your grandfather discovered Uranus" jokes by now.

Doubt it. I predict your comment history here ending abruptly on the exact date they figure out how to make it look like an accident.

>My youngest has "Madetoja".

Everyone who's had male offspring has made todger. That's no excuse to inflict it on their nomenclature.

>I'm not even gonna try to work it out.....

See your type? This Mumsnet web filtering is ALL YOUR FAULT, you know.

>(Yeah, I look like the icon. So what?)

I see no problem there, pretty snappy jerkin 'n' titfer if you ask me.

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Liquid water - woot!

Water warm enough to turn easily into liquid would help to make belt mining feasible in the future.

Carrying energy is one thing, replacing volatiles is another - water isn't a great propellant but without a gravity well it becomes a lot more practical. Now add oxygen by electrolysis.

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Re: Liquid water - woot!

You don't add oxygen to water by electrolysis. You get hydrogen and oxygen from water by electrolysis. Hydrogen and oxygen are almost the perfect chemical rocket fuel...

Woot for Ceres as the ISRU of the future!

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Anonymous Coward

"largest asteroid"

Actually since 2006, the smallest dwarf planet.

There's a sign on the surface that says "Last fuel stop before Europa".

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Re: "largest asteroid"

We've also opened a small saloon there, "The Last Chance Saloon".

Hydrogen, oxygen, water, all good, but space is nowhere to waste time without ethanol!

It relieves the tedium of those long trips and all that "Are we there yet?" nonsense.

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Boffin

Re: "largest asteroid"

Hydrogen, oxygen, water, all good, but space is nowhere to waste time without ethanol!

2 CO2 + 3 H2O + energy -> C2H5OH + 3 O2. There.

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Re: "largest asteroid"

...where's the carbon coming from? There may be some locally but there's no saying what the concentrations would be or how easy they are to collect.

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Windows

Re: "largest asteroid"

..where's the carbon coming from?

Carbon dioxide: from your breath.

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Holmes

How sublime . . .

I hate the use of the word word sublime, the press along with armies of writers call many things sublime. except actual sublimation.

If we could move Ceres into a collision with say Mars . . . we could turn Mars into a water planet. Perhaps the energy of the impact would melt most of the ice.

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Re: How sublime . . .

Put Ceres on a collision course with Earth, so we will be spared this kind of astronomy reporting in the future.

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Re: How sublime . . .

I was thinking Venus. I read somewhere once that water precipitation helps scrub co2 from the atmosphere so Ceres could be all that's needed to terraform our red-hot sister if we could split it up and chuck it at Venus.

Although I imagine there's a little more to it than that...

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Re: How sublime . . .

No magnetic field on either planet, so the hydrogen would be lost to space by the solar wind.

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Bah!

And here we see the entirely predictable cascade failure of nomenclature that renaming Pluto was bound to cause.

Why couldn't useless ground-bound "scientists" leave well alone? In my day Pluto was a planet, Ceres was an asteroid and there was no confusion nor bickering over what to call them. Everyone had their eyes set firmly on the prize of actually going out there for a first-hand look in a proper spaceship with fins and big rocket nozzles and stuff driven by a proper astronaut.

Then some idiot made computers cheap and astronomers took over the clubhouse and there went the future in a blaze of re-classification and ever-more-expensive telescopes. Anyone looking for a conspiracy need look no further than the De Grasse Tyson Illuminati and their insidious plan to bog down science and manifest destiny with the functional equivalent of stamp-collecting.

>BoP

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Re: Bah!

Hey Stevie,

You forgot to put "and stay off of my lawn, you damn kids!" at the end of your post.

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Childcatcher

Article off to a bad start

>As every chubby kid will know, it's no fun being bigger than all the other children in the playground.

[Emphases mine]

You've obviously not peeked through the jail-bars of your local monkey enclosure lately if you think there's only one chubby kid per school.

[Icon: I know it should probably be the Grammarnazi one, but this seemed more fitting somehow.]

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Alien

Water vapor offgassing from Ceres?

So when DAWN arrives we'll get a transmission from the surface--"Next week! I said we'd have your shirts next week!!"

(More seriously,a great piece of serendipity that this has been found while Dawn is so close to arriving!)

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Outgassing at the crack of Dawn

and I bet she was a might embarrassed about that.

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Alien

When I was young(er) there was a local show on TV about a bunch of puppets flying spacecraft and defending the earth. The main bad guy had his office in an asteroid so they could never find him. Obviously they weren't looking hard enough for puffs of smoke coming out of the asteroid when the cargo doors opened.

</nostalgia>

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