(Mirror Daily, United States) – Ceres, one of the most mysterious dwarf planets, has been shot yet again by Dawn spacecraft team at NASA, and the amazing map featuring some bright spots and a Giant Mountain was shared with the public.
The upcoming European Planetary Science Conference that will take place this week in Nantes, France, will be a place for the scientific community to come together and try to figure out the ceaseless puzzles that Ceres keeps throwing at us. Not the least of them all is the latest data revealed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that leads only to more questions about the mysterious nature of Ceres.
Many of the planet’s features have already been named, as listed on the color-coded topographic map recently published. For example, Ceres’ giant mountain – no less than 12 mile in diameter – has received its name of Ysolo Mons from the Albanian festival that celebrates the first day of the eggplant harvest.
Chris Russell, Dawn’s leading investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that mapping Ceres is no easy task because it “continues to amaze, yet puzzle us.” Each new picture of the dwarf planet reveals new mysteries regarding the spectra and now the energetic particle bursts.
As it can be seen in the picture, there’s a very bright spot on Ceres; it was named the Occator crater, a feature that is in fact a cone-shaped mountain of 4 miles in height, and it’s full of puzzles for astronomers around the world.
Carol Raymond, Dawn’s deputy leading investigator at JPL, tried to explain what the mystery is; it turns out that Ceres’ irregular shapes of craters are more like the craters found on Saturn’s moon, the icy Rhea. At the same time, they have nothing to resemble the bowl-shaped craters found on Vesta.
Dawn’s mission will cover the entire surface of the dwarf planet six times and send back images from an altitude of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers) on the orbit of Ceres. Between October and December, Dawn will arrive at its lowest and final orbit, cruising at an altitude of 230 miles (375 kilometers).
Launched in September 2007 to observe Vesta and Ceres, the $466 million Dawn Spacecraft is scheduled to be operational at least through mid-2016. Enthusiasts are looking forward to the Nantes conference, as more clues about the situation on Ceres might be revealed by astronomers from all over the world.
Image Source: SciTech Daily