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“This is the first clear detection of organic molecules from orbit on the main belt body,” said Maria Cristina De Sanctis, lead author of the study, based at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Rome. The discovery is reported in the journal Science.
Significance of organics
“This discovery adds to our understanding of the possible origins of water and organics on Earth,” said Julie Castillo-Rogez, Dawn project scientist based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Where is the organics?
“We’re still working on understanding the geological context for these materials,” said study co-author Carle Pieters, professor of geological sciences at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
Next tasks for Dawn