SEP 10, 2015 08:14 AM PDT

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Gets Clear View of Ceres' Mysterious Bright Spots

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is keeping its eye on Ceres, a dwarf planet in the middle of the Asteroid Belt in between the planets of Mars and Jupiter. It wasn’t long ago that NASA released images that Dawn took of a strange conical mountain on the dwarf planet.
 
Recent images from Ceres taken by the Dawn spacecraft from just about 915 miles away are revealing specific objects on the dwarf planet’s surface that scientists are finding very intriguing.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has snapped high-resolution images of the bright spots on Ceres.
There are bright spots on Ceres’ surface that the new close-up photographs aim to shed some light on. These are the clearest and highest-resolution photographs ever shot of the bright spots on Ceres’ surface.
 
The bright spots appear in the center of a crater on the dwarf planet known as the Occator crater. The new images give scientists a closer look at these unusual spots at a resolution that NASA says is equivalent to 450 feet per pixel.

NASA notes in their announcement that the firm actually took two separate photographs to try and learn more about these bright spots; one at a higher exposure and one and a lower exposure, to ensure all of the details of the spots and the surrounding terrain would be captured.
 
While there is still no concrete answer about where these bright spots came from, scientists will continue to analyze the bright spots for clues. The crater that the bright spots are located in is a very unusual crater because some of the inclines of the crater are actually vertical (straight up and down) instead of at a steep angle.
 
The Dawn spacecraft has been mapping the surface of Ceres for a while in the hopes to help scientists learn more about the dwarf planet, as well as any key information that could help reveal how our solar system was formed. These mapping processes will construct a 3D diagram of Ceres’ entire surface, giving scientists something more tangible to look at.
 
“Dawn has transformed what was so recently a few bright dots into a complex and beautiful, gleaming landscape," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission director based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Soon, the scientific analysis will reveal the geological and chemical nature of this mysterious and mesmerizing extraterrestrial scenery.”
 
Below, you can watch a 3D representation of Occator crater on Ceres, created by the Dawn spacecraft:



Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 30, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 30, 2018
Terraforming Mars Not Possible With Current Technology, Study Suggests
Mars is a bleak and lifeless place today, at least when compared to Earth’s standards. With that in mind, it’d take significant efforts to make...
JUL 31, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 31, 2018
Where Does Earth Get Its Water
We live on Earth, the so-called blue planet. Without water, Earth would not be "blue" at all, not to mention the life that is bred on the planet...
AUG 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 27, 2018
These Are Some of the Oldest Galaxies in the Universe, Astronomers Say
While exploring the depths of the universe, astronomers from Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and the Harvard-Smithsonian Ce...
AUG 28, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 28, 2018
Mars Has Huge Mountains, But How Did it Get Them?
Mount Everest, which sports a height of approximately 29,000 feet, is the tallest mountain on Earth. But if you were to venture to Mars, you’d find s...
AUG 29, 2018
Neuroscience
AUG 29, 2018
Are Women's Brains Protected From Cosmic Rays?
Going to space is a dream for many. Astronauts are viewed almost as superheroes, but the dangers of space travel cannot be underestimated. On long trips, s...
SEP 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 17, 2018
SpaceX to Announce First Passenger for Upcoming Commercial Lunar Flight
To date, only 24 humans have journeyed to the Moon. Every one of these visits took place more than four decades ago, with the most recent visit having tran...
Loading Comments...