Exciting space news! Astronomers have found evidence that Ceres, a dwarf planet (a.k.a. large asteroid) in between Mars and Jupiter, has water vapor plumes.
The discovery, not unlike that of Jupiter's moon Europa last month, was made by the Herschel infrared space observatory. Ceres has long been suspected to contain water on or just below its surface, but this is the first definitive evidence. Scientists believe the water plumes are either because the planet's icy surface turns directly from ice to vapor when the dwarf planet orbits closest to the sun or because the planet has ice volcanoes, which sounds awesome.
Space.com describes Ceres as "an oblate spheroid, rounded with a rotational bulge around its equator" and "roughly the size of Texas." But Texas doesn't have any ice volcanoes.
We should know more about Ceres when NASA's Dawn probe reaches its surface on February 2015.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.