Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt – and the smallest known dwarf planet – is 590 miles (950 kilometers) in diameter. Its orbit between Mars and Jupiter takes 4.6 Earth years to complete. A day on Ceres is 9 hours and 4 minutes long.
Ceres may have a thin atmosphere and possibly an ocean of water beneath its surface. No one could live unprotected on the surface, but future astronauts could mine water from Ceres to create oxygen and rocket fuel.
Gravity on Ceres is about 2.8 percent of that on Earth. The surface temperature ranges from minus 100 degrees F (minus 73 degrees C) to minus 225 F (minus 143 C).
Read our full special report:
Living on Other Planets: What Would It Be Like?Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on the moon? What about Mars, or Venus or Mercury? Find out what it might be like to live on other worlds in our solar system, from Mercury to Pluto and beyond in our 12-part series.
- The Asteroid Belt Explained: Space Rocks by the Millions (Infographic)
- Asteroid Basics: A Space Rock Quiz
- Photos: Asteroids in Deep Space
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Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork). Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web. He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.