Ceres is probably the most enigmatic object in our solar system. It is a dwarf planet that orbits around the Sun within the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter and houses some mysterious bright spots on its surface that ignited many theories. However, recently, NASA’s Dawn mission which orbits Ceres to find out more about this small planet flew at only 34 kilometers above Ceres’ surface, taking a closer look at those shiny spots.
The latest images released by NASA depict the 92-kilometer-wide Occator Crater of Ceres.
But, Dawn probe snapped Occator Crater in 2015 for the first time. Back then, what puzzled the scientists was the apparent presence of some bright deposit inside the crater. The scientists assessed that the weird and shiny material is nothing else than sodium carbonate, a compound left behind by the salty water after boiling away in the space.
However, what still baffles the researchers is where that salty water came from on Ceres.
NASA’s Dawn mission took a close look at the mysterious bright spots on Ceres dwarf planet and might help scientist solve this puzzle, finally
NASA’s Dawn mission flew at only 34 kilometers above Ceres on June 14th and 22nd, and, with these occasions, it caught the Occator Crater on camera again. According to the mission’s scientists, the new photos could reveal essential details on the crater’s floor and, subsequently, on the odd bright deposit.
“Acquiring these spectacular pictures has been one of the greatest challenges in Dawn’s extraordinary extraterrestrial expedition, and the results are better than we had ever hoped. Dawn is like a master artist, adding rich details to the otherworldly beauty in its intimate portrait of Ceres,” explained Marc Rayman from the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Hopefully, the NASA’s scientists will eventually find what is dwarf planet Ceres “hiding” before the NASA’s Dawn probe ends it fuel which is expected to deplete in September.