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6 8 12 14 26 C O Mg Si Fe Credit: NASA Source: Braukmüller et al. (2018). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 239. Marchi et al. (2019). , Vol 3. McKinnon et al. (2017). , Vol. 287. CERES DR. M. CRISTINA Discovered in 1801 by the Italian Giuseppe , Ceres was DE SANCTIS the first object discovered in the main belt. Because of its -like Italian National Astrophysics Institute characteristics, Ceres was designated a in 2006. Images from the mission show evidence for recent and potentially ongoing geologic activity on Ceres. This was unexpected considering its relatively small Dr. M. Cristina De Sanctis is a Senior Researcher (950 kilometers), which caused at the Italian National Astrophysics Institute it to cool quicker than , in Rome, Italy. Although she has always been as well as its distance from fascinated by in general, she is mainly the (about three the interested in understanding the surface properties Earth-Sun distance), making it of , , and icy bodies such as very . Ceres’ low and . She is an expert in modeling the infers it to be about 25% thermal evolution of minor bodies, particularly by , making it one of cometary nuclei. Her recent investigations include the most water-rich bodies in the study of the origin and composition of Ceres the inner solar , second using data gathered by the Dawn mission. She only to Earth. Data from the has also led many observational campaigns using This false-color of Ceres’ crater illustrates Dawn spacecraft revealed the large, groundbased . She is the Principal Investigator of the visual/ in sharp detail light and dark material found across the surface of Ceres is covered (VIR) spectrometer on the Dawn spacecraft and the Mars Multispectral surface of Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/ Imager for Subsurface Studies (Ma_MISS) instrument on the European Space MPS/DLR/IDA. by mostly dark materials in addition to phyllosilicates, Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars rover. She is a Co-Investigator for other NASA and , and salts. Ammonium-bearing compounds were also discovered, ESA missions including , Bepi-Colombo, Mars Express, JUICE, and suggesting the materials that make up Ceres, or Ceres itself, formed in the the Prospect mission to the . She has contributed to, or led, a number of outer of the . This observation provides additional evidence proposals, studies, and development phases for space missions to the solar that the early solar system experienced dramatic reorganizations and collisional system. She is a member of several advisory groups within NASA, ESA, and events before reaching its current arrangement. The surface composition also other European institutions. De Sanctis loves educating the next generation of indicates the presence of salts, which could promote long-term liquid water , technology, engineering, and (STEM) professionals and activity on and below the surface. The Dawn mission showed Ceres would be fostering better inclusivity in STEM fields. She is particularly passionate about an attractive location for future missions searching for possible signs of . In outreach to promote science to girls and other minorities. She regularly gives addition to large amounts of water, Ceres is one of the few places in the solar talks in schools, in the community, and on TV and radio. Asteroid (17899) Maria system that shows clear evidence for organic compounds that can be possible Cristina is named after her. indicators of life.

Founded at the height of the program in 1968, the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is an The 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of Dmitri ’s development of the Periodic intellectual leader in lunar and . LPI’s mission is to advance understanding of the System and has been proclaimed the “International Year of the Periodic of Chemical solar system by providing exceptional science, service, and inspiration to the . The research Elements” (IYPT2019). carried out at LPI supports NASA’s efforts to explore the solar system.