Nasa’s spacecraft, Dawn, is approaching the dwarf planet Ceres in its present mission. It is also sending detailed images of the celestial body’s surface back to Earth.
Thanks to NASA’s Dawn, remarkable details of the recently discovered dwarf planet can now be observed. Massive craters, mountains, and even vast portions of smooth terrain can be admired in the detailed photographs sent back to us by the spacecraft.
For the images to get back to Earth they have to travel the space for about 11 days, that is because the planet is situated somewhere in between Mars and Jupiter. It takes Dawn the same number of days to orbit around Ceres for 14 times, with the spacecraft flying above the planet’s surface just above 900 miles. Dawn’s mission, according to NASA authorities, is to map the dwarf planet for at least six times.
In its images, Dawn spotted all kinds of odd-shaped natural terrain on the surface of Ceres, including a conical mountain as high as four miles. What is especially puzzling about this peak is that its perimeter is formed of highly reflective slopes, closely similar to the pyramids we have on Earth.
At this stage, Marc Rayman, mission director and chief engineer of the project, declares that Dawn’s performance is flawless and it is conducting its exploration around the orbit at a great pace. Mapping the planet for the third time now, the spacecraft is able to reveal much sharper and intriguing details from the mysterious surface of the dwarf planet.
The dwarf planet Ceres is in fact the largest celestial body situated on the asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter, and the NASA spacecraft had started orbiting around it back in March 2015. During this time, Dawn had not only captured pictures of its terrain, but of two suspiciously bright spots as well, which researchers are highly confused by.
Preliminary studies indicate that the bright materials could be in fact salt, but the mysterious reflective spots have nonetheless fueled social media sites with conspiracy theories involving the existence of extraterrestrial lifeforms.
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