"Since I have the meteorology background, I most want to know what's going on with the water vapor, maybe there's an atmospheric thing going on," Keri Bean, Dawn mission operations engineer, told Discovery News. "Dawn will give us an answer, one way or another. It may not be able to see it (the water vapor), but that will also be a clue. So it will be interesting to see what Dawn does."
Rather than answering any questions early in Dawn's Ceres encounter, it seems even more questions are popping up.
"The real excitement is, what does Ceres have to tell us? It's not a specific question; it's rather that this is a mysterious alien world that, for two centuries has just been this faint smudge of light," added Rayman. "Now we're finally getting this in-depth, richly detailed portrait. That's what I think is exciting.
"What questions is Ceres going to answer that we're not even smart enough to ask now?"
NEWS: Water Plume ‘Unequivocally' Detected at Dwarf Planet Ceres
Understanding how Ceres is storing its water, what mechanics are driving the possible water vapor (and a potential atmosphere) and, of course, whether ice is behind the mysterious bright spots, are just a few components of our desire to seek out whether Ceres is (or was) a place that life as we know it would consider to be habitable. Following the water in any solar system body ultimately has this aim - to search for niches where life may take hold beyond Earth.