NASA’s Dawn spacecraft recently reached its lowest altitude orbit over dwarf planet Ceres, and has been returning images of craters on Ceres with a network of cracks, bright material exposed on crater rims, and in spots all over the surface, and rough cratered terrain everywhere.
The southeast rim of Dantu Crater
. Bright material can be seen places along some of the crater the walls. Fractures can be seen in the floor of the crater at upper right. The Dawn spacecraft captured this image on 20 Dec 2015, from an approximate altitude of 385 km (240 mi) above Ceres. The image resolution is 35 m (120 ft) per pixel. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
The fractured floor of Dantu Crater on Ceres – similar to fractures seen in Tycho Crater on Earth’s Moon. Dawn took this image on 21 Dec 2015 at an approximate altitude of 385 km (240 mi) above Ceres. The image resolution is 35 m (120 ft) per pixel.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
is one of the youngest craters on Ceres. The crater has bright material on its rim and walls, which is likely salts. The flat floor of the crater was formed from impact melt and debris. Kupalo measures 26 km (16 mi) across, and is named for the Slavic god
of vegetation and harvest.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Messor Crater on Ceres. This 40 km (25 mi) wide crater is an older feature, with a large lobe-shaped flow partly covering the northern part of the crater floor. The flow is ejected material from the formation of a younger crater, just north of the rim. This image was taken on 19 Dec 2015, from an approximate altitude of 385 km (240 mi) above Ceres. The image resolution is 35 m (120 ft) per pixel.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
BB-8 on Ceres? This currently unnamed crater
on Ceres is located near the equator. Dawn took this image on 18 Dec 2015, from its low-altitude mapping orbit.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Unnamed craters in the southern hemisphere of Ceres. Dawn took this image on 18 Dec 2015, from its low-altitude mapping orbit.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
30 km (19 mi) wide Victa Crater on Ceres. Taken on 19 Dec 2015. The crater is named for the Roman goddess of food and nourishment. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
The Dawn spacecraft has returned more than 16,000 pictures of Ceres in 2015, including more than 2,000 since descending to its low orbit in December 2015. January 1, 2016 is the 215th anniversary of Giuseppe Piazzi’s discovery of Ceres.
New Details On Ceres Seen in Dawn Images