03 October, 2015 in

Ceres 'Spots' Remains A Mystery, or Does It? Researchers Say

The team behind Nasa's Dawn mission to Ceres has released striking new images, but remains unable to explain the dwarf planet's most intriguing mystery.
The Occator Crater |
Blue is the lowest elevation, and brown is the highest. The crater, which is home to the brightest spots on Ceres, is approximately 56 miles (90 kilometers wide). Link
Bright spots within a 90km-wide crater have baffled scientists since the probe spied them on its approach.

Now in orbit around Ceres, Dawn is gathering detailed data about the world's geology and its composition.

Mission researchers described the latest images at the European Planetary Science Congress in Nantes, France.

NASA's Dawn Images Sparks Existence of Alien City on Ceres | The Xenologist

Currently, their best guess to account for the spots is an expanse of some type of salt - but this is speculation.

"We haven't solved the source of the white material," said the mission's principal investigator Chris Russell from the University of California Los Angeles.

"We think that it's salt that has somehow made its way to the surface. We're measuring the contours, trying to understand what the surface variations in that crater are telling us."

Ceres is a 950km-wide dwarf planet sitting in the Solar System's asteroid belt. Dawn is currently orbiting it at a distance of 1,470km and imaging the entire surface every 11 days.

Ceres continues to amaze, yet puzzle us, as we examine our multitude of images, spectra and now energetic particle bursts,” said Chris Russell, Dawn principal investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles. - scitechdaily.com

Mysterious White Spots on Ceres Are Probably Salt | Science, Space & Robots

Source:  http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34403738

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