NASA's Dawn Captures Closest-Ever Images Of Ceres

Posted: Dec 24 2015, 5:25am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

NASA's Dawn Captures Closest-Ever Images of Ceres
Dawn took this image in its low-altitude mapping orbit from an approximate distance of 240 miles (385 kilometers) from Ceres. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
  • NASA releases closest-ever pictures of enigmatic dwarf planet Ceres!

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has delivered the first images from the best-ever viewpoint of Ceres.

NASA has released the first ever close snaps of the dwarf planet Ceres. Two official images were posted on the JPL website by NASA. The mysterious dwarf planet Ceres has been photographed by the NASA Dawn spacecraft.

The images are the first closest and best viewpoint of the plant Ceres ever. The new pictures reveal details of the cratered and fractured surface of Ceres. The 3-D versions of the two images are also available.

The spacecraft Dawn reportedly took the images on the 10th of December. The images were taken from the southern hemisphere of Ceres. The image point was an approximate altitude of 240 miles. It is the lowest-ever orbital altitude for a picture taken by NASA.

NASA also revealed the Dawn will remain at this altitude for the rest of its mission. The spacecraft could remain at the altitude even indefinitely. The images have a resolution of about 120 feet (35 meters) per pixel.

The images show a chain of craters called Gerber Catena. The striking crater is located just west of the large crater Urvara. The fracturing found over the surface of Ceres implies they are caused by contractions.

Followed by impact stresses and the loading of the crust by large mountains on the planet. The impact likely formed the troughs and grooves on Ceres. Some of the indentions appear to be tectonic. It means internal stresses of the planet may have broken the surface crust.

The images were taken by the backup framing camera of Dawn. The infrared mapping spectrometer will identify minerals on the surface of Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft arrived on Ceres on the 6th of March, 2015. It is the first mission to visit a dwarf planet by NASA.

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