Watch Ceres’ Cratered and Fractured Surface in Photos from Dawn’s Final Orbit
NASA’s Dawn space probe, zooming into its lowest and final orbit at mysterious asteroid belt object Ceres, has beamed back first closest images of the dwarf planet. The photos released by NASA on Tuesday show beautiful view of icy object’s cratered and fractured surface.
NASA said Dawn spacecraft, first probe to visit Ceres, captured closest pictures of the dwarf planet’s craters in a region, called Gerber Catena, on December 10. Primary camera of Dawn which is healthy started clicking photos on December 16, the space agency added.
Marks on Ceres’ surface have been baffling scientists since their discovery. They predict that many of those marks could be a result of impact and internal breaking through the icy crust of the dwarf world. Paul Schenk, Dawn science team member, said, “Why they are so prominent is not yet understood, but they are probably related to the complex crustal structure of Ceres”.
New lowest and final orbit of the probe is approximately 240 miles from Ceres, as per NASA.
Mysterious bright spot on Ceres started debates in March when the probe first spotted them while orbiting the frozen world. Some predict that the dots could be salt on the object. A team of scientists said the surface contains ammoniated clays. Dawn’s science team said final theory on the bright spot will be confirmed in the probe’s final orbit.
Dawn has started sending highest-resolution about the icy world and scientists on earth are examining the data to uncover more about the mysterious frozen world in the asteroid belt, said Chris Russell, Principal Investigator of Dawn.
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