In 1801 Giuseppe Piazzi discovered a celestial thing which he believed to be a new planet. He named the celestial object, Ceres, roman goddess of harvest. Later in the area where Piazzi discovered Ceres many other celestial object were seen. Those time telescopes were not that good so he was not able to see correctly that Ceres was no planet. Scientists named this type of celestial objects as asteroids meaning Star Shaped.
Giuseppe Piazzi confused an asteroid to a planet. Then there must be something from which he concludes that the celestial thing is planet. There are currently over 600,000 known asteroids in our solar system.
There are reasons why Ceres is famous in the bundle of asteroids
- Ceres was the first Asteroid discovered.
- Ceres is a differentiated asteroid. That means it has a rocky core and an icy outer crust. It might have an internal ocean.
- Now Ceres is a Dwarf planet
- Scientists also believe that round bodies tend to have differentiated interiors, meaning that there are different zones inside of them. Ceres probably has a rocky core, an icy mantle, perhaps some subsurface liquid water and a dusty top layer.
- As well as being the first asteroid discovered, Ceres is also the largest known asteroid at 933 kilometers (580 miles) across. The smallest known asteroid, 1991 BA, is only 6 meters (20 feet) across.
- Most asteroids are irregular in shape because they are too small to exert enough gravitational pull to become spherical in shape. But Ceres is spherical in shape and due to its shape scientist thought that there will be possibility of life.
- It may have an atmosphere.
Why asteroids now?
NASA is planning to launch a new robotic mission to explore a giant metal asteroid. However this idea is not new. From many years we know that asteroids are very good source of metals and petroleum product. But we were not technically advanced to go to them. But now NASA decided to take this big step.
The asteroid they are going to explore is psyche. The asteroid measures about 210 kilometers in diameter and unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies is thought to be comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core.
How will this help?
The mission will help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers – including cores, mantles and crusts – early in their histories.
Well for years NASA is doing great work, but ISRO is now catching NASA in almost everything. After mars and moon visit, ISRO decided to go to Venus and nearby asteroids.