This stunning view the cratered surface of dwarf planet Ceres comes from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Mission scientists believe water ice deposits exist in within some of the craters where parts are in permanent shade.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft successfully observed Ceres at opposition on April 29, taking images from a position exactly between the Sun and Ceres’ surface. Mission specialists had carefully maneuvered Dawn into a special orbit so that the spacecraft could view Occator Crater, which contains the brightest area of Ceres, from this new perspective.
Colourful new maps of Ceres, based on data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, showcase a diverse topography, with height differences between crater bottoms and mountain peaks as great as 9 miles (15 kilometres). Some of these craters and other features now have official names, inspired by spirits and deities relating to agriculture from a variety of cultures.
The enigmatic white features on the dwarf planet Ceres are better resolved in a new sequence of images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on May 3rd and 4th. In this closest-yet view, the brightest spots within a crater in the northern hemisphere are revealed to be composed of many smaller spots. However, their exact nature remains unknown.