NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Produces Clearest Pictures Yet of Ceres and Its White Spots

Wednesday, 09 September 2015 - 12:34PM
Space
Astronomy
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 - 12:34PM
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Produces Clearest Pictures Yet of Ceres and Its White Spots
NASA's Dawn spacecraft is currently in the middle of a detailed mapping procedure that will see the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres practically come to life on researcher's screens. Among the mysteries researchers hope to solve with this mapping is the make-up of Ceres's mysterious white spots. First appearing on distant images from Dawn's Ceres approach earlier this year, the puzzle of these white spots remains frustratingly unsolved.



Dawn has returned new images of Ceres's surface (top image), revealing the white spots in more detail than ever before. But despite the masses of data being collected, there is yet to be a comprehensive answer as to what has caused this now-famous alien landmark. Despite the lengthy investigations, Marc Rayman the chief engineer on NASA Dawn mission, believes that a comprehensive answer could soon be forthcoming. 

Opening quote
Dawn has transformed what was so recently a few bright dots into a complex and beautiful, gleaming landscape. Soon, the scientific analysis will reveal the geological and chemical nature of this mysterious and mesmerizing extraterrestrial scenery.
Closing quote



Such is the mystery of these white spots, NASA opened up the question of their origin to the public, giving everyday people the chance to vote on what they think is causing the bright features. NASA provided 6 choices for a potential origin of the white spots: Ice, Rock, Geyser, Volcano, Salt Deposit, and a somewhat mysterious 'Other'.  But it would appear that the public has been unable to agree upon a conclusion, with the results at the time of writing revealing that 39% have voted 'Other', followed by Ice with 28%, and Volcano with 11%.

Want to add your voice to the vote? Click here
Science
NASA
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Astronomy

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