Come on in, the brine is fine!
August 20, 2020 1:55 PM   Subscribe

 
I've said it before, but new evidence is making an even stronger case that Ceres is more like a planet than an asteroid.
posted by tclark at 2:17 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


This news invalidates most recent science fiction which assumed water would be so scarce in the asteroid belt that it would be worth mining it in the outer solar system. Living in the asteroid belt might be more possible than we thought!
posted by monotreme at 2:29 PM on August 20


I did not!

Space stuff... So amazingly cool
posted by Windopaene at 3:39 PM on August 20


Interplanetary salt lick for gigafauna
posted by BungaDunga at 5:50 PM on August 20


tclark, this is why I find the downgrading of Pluto such cowardice. Basically they did it because they were so afraid of schoolchildren having to learn about more than 9 planets, and that's so weak. There are gas giants, then there are rocky planets inside the frost line and there are rocky planets outside the frost line (because frankly the main reason we differentiate between rock and ice is one is liquid where we live and one isn't.)

The interesting divisions should be how dynamic an object are they. Are they big enough to differentiate? Reach gravitational rounding? Maintain an atmosphere? Are they big enough to still keep enough heat to be dynamic objects? Pluto appears to be more dynamic and less dead than Mercury, even though it's smaller.

But no, they whined that schoolchildren might have to learn about Haumea and Makemake, oh the horror!
posted by tavella at 5:55 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Basically they did it because they were so afraid of schoolchildren having to learn about more than 9 planets, and that's so weak.

Oh, I'm 100% on board with that. The redefinition of planet was based on a very arbitrary, carefully selected, and worst of all unphysical criterion. And yeah, it was all because people couldn't handle the possibility that maybe there are twenty planets. Maybe there are fifty of them, dark and silent, way out there in the cold. I have a habit of ranting about it, so I'll leave it here, with my twitter "bio":

#plutoisaplanet
It's OK, I have an Astrophysics degree.
posted by tclark at 6:57 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]




Needs accompaniment.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:15 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


This news invalidates most recent science fiction which assumed water would be so scarce in the asteroid belt that it would be worth mining it in the outer solar system. Living in the asteroid belt might be more possible than we thought!

In other words, "The Expanse" is as obsolete as "Farmer in the Sky". The entire basis of the plot has had the legs kicked out from under it.

So with "The Martian" also being impossible, I wonder what other current near-future SF is doomed by upcoming discoveries.
posted by happyroach at 10:36 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Come on in, the brine is fine!

Coincidentally, that is also the tagline for the upcoming sequel to Seth Rogen's An American Pickle in which his character has once again been accidentally trapped in brine for a hundred years, enabling him to join his spacefaring descendants on a mission to Ceres to make first contact with a race of sentient pickles living in its subterranean ocean.
posted by fairmettle at 11:33 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


“ Because Ceres was found to have organic materials on its surface and liquid below the surface, planetary protection rules required Dawn to be placed in a long-duration orbit that will prevent it from impacting the dwarf planet for decades.”

Way to kick the can down the road, boys.
posted by sixswitch at 3:15 AM on August 21


In other words, "The Expanse" is as obsolete as "Farmer in the Sky". The entire basis of the plot has had the legs kicked out from under it.

Well, it did throw them for a bit of a loop when Dawn showed Ceres potentially had a lot more water than thought. As I understand it, their retcon is that Mars originally mined Ceres for water for terraforming, thus leaving behind the tunneled dry rocky ball as seen in the books/TV series that needed ice shipping in for the human population.

As they say, "Writing science fiction is a race between the author's imagination and the progress of science and history. Fiction is always on the losing end; the question is only how fast."
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:07 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. AND GANYMEDE. AND MAYBE PLUTO. OH, AND CERES, TOO. IN FACT, MAYBE JUST KEEP AWAY FROM ALL THESE WORLDS.
posted by The Tensor at 10:59 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


there are rocky planets inside the frost line and there are rocky planets outside the frost line (because frankly the main reason we differentiate between rock and ice is one is liquid where we live and one isn't.)

Astronomers traditionally divide everything up into gas (mostly hydrogen and helium) and dust (almost anything else). So to astronomers, all the rocky planets are is dust in the solar wind...
posted by The Tensor at 11:08 AM on August 21


All these worlds...

Welcome to the MemeDome.
posted by y2karl at 1:33 PM on August 21


Seriously, in retrospect 2001 is so 20th Century. Who knew Waterworld would be the more accurate cinematic template for the future ?
posted by y2karl at 1:40 PM on August 21


#plutoisaplanet
It's OK, I have an Astrophysics degree.
posted by tclark


Preach!
posted by Splunge at 3:21 PM on August 21


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