Ceres by telescope



Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, has been the object of considerable study by earth-based telescope. No small part of the growing interest in studying Ceres' surface is the observation of infrared absorption spectra that are interpreted to be produced by clay minerals. The absorption bands are like the condensed-water bands in montmorillonite, the clay-type that occurs on the Murchison meteorite. The Murchison also has a complement of organic matter. Donald L. DeVincenzi, in A Meeting with the Universe (Bevan M. French and Stephen P. Maron (Eds.), pp. 145–159, NASA, Washington, D.C., 1981), describes a suggested link between clay and the origin of life: