|Fig. 1 Grooves around Vesta's Equator|
It is a legitimate hypothesis or theory that I have written about over the years (e.g. Weekend Rebel Science Excursion, 7, 11; Exploded Planet Hypothesis, 2; Are Some or All Comets Pieces of an Exploded Planet?).
The current cosmological hypothesis or theory of planetary and stellar evolution is discussed in the context of exploding stars, which also impact planets (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 5).
We discussed the issue when the Dawn Spacecraft (NASA Dawn Mission) was at the asteroid Vesta (Fig. 1), before it moved on to its current location at the asteroid Ceres .(Dawn Mission Nears Ceres Orbit Maneuvers).
The phases of a planet exploding is illustrated in Fig. 2 - Fig. 5.
Eventually the planet breaks up.
The ice covered continent is ejected into space as huge chunks of crustal debris mixed with the water and miles-thick ice chunks (Fig. 4).
As space, time, and gravity work on the chunks, some join to form odd shaped space junk, maintaining an ungainly shape for a span of time.
Let's call one of them "Proto-Ceres," which will eventually become the asteroid Ceres (Fig. 5).
Other chunks from parts of the planet without as much ice or water, but with large layers of the planet's surface strata laid down by water and wind over millennia, eventually form a less perfect spherical form, such as the asteroid Vesta (Fig. 1).
If the once-planetary fragments which have now become an asteroid we call Proto-Ceres, is large enough, it will eventually morph into a sphere:
"Planets are round because their gravitational field acts as though it originates from the center of the body and pulls everything toward it. With its large body and internal heating from radioactive elements, a planet behaves like a fluid, and over long periods of time succumbs to the gravitational pull from its center of gravity. The only way to get all the mass as close to planet's center of gravity as possible is to form a sphere. The technical name for this process is 'isostatic adjustment'."(Why are planets round?). Remember that some of the debris is sharp-edged granite or granite-like boulders miles wide.
Those came from sections of the planet's rock layers of crust and were ejected along with the great ice sheets and other matter.
As the Proto-Ceres slowly, over many years, morphed into the asteroid Ceres (Fig. 6) (over time the ice, dirt, sand, rocks, and water were relocated by the forces of gravity).
The giant chunk of granite or granite-like rock still
|Fig. 7 Pyramid|
There are other mysteries such as the bright spots (Fig. 6) which are still being studied.
When the software problems are rectified, and the Dawn Spacecraft moves into the lower orbit of about 250 miles above the surface, more will be known and discovered.
UPDATE: Is this (Fig. 8) a photo of the bright spots on Ceres when the Dawn Spacecraft was on the dark side of Ceres, i.e. when the other side was facing the Sun?
|Fig. 8 NASA Photo Journal (click to enlarge)|
"This image of dwarf planet Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 15, 2015, shows a cluster of mysterious spots that are clearly brighter than their surroundings. Dawn took this image at an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The resolution is 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel."(Dawn Survey Orbit Image 16). The reason I ask is because in the first post about the Ceres approach, I opined that:
Thus, the light generation seems to not be a reflection, but rather light generated from two sources inside the crater.(Dawn Mission Nears Ceres Orbit Maneuvers). The photo is darker than usual so that is why I wondered about it.
However, some of the other bright spots don't seem to glow in the dark, so we will have to wait a few days for Dawn to enter orbit (Friday).
Then Dawn can take a look at the dark side of Ceres to see if any of them glow all the way across the dark side, or instead fade out.
If they fade out slowly the source could be sunlight generated phosphorescence that fades out while on the dark side, to be regenerated on the sun facing side --but if they immediately go out and stay out on the dark side, they could be only some type of reflection from a shiny surface at the floor of the crater (such as a flat surface of frozen ice or other reflective material).
But if they glow or shine all the way across the dark side, then the light is generated by a source in the crater rather than being merely a reflection of sunlight.
It is a game changer if the spots are light generators rather than light reflectors, but less of a game changer if they are phosphorescent or have persistent luminescence.