NASA has revealed to the world some detailed images of the dwarf planet Ceres taken by the Dawn mission spacecraft. The pictures taken from 1470 kilometers away from Ceres have clear impressions of the surface of the planet. The images of Ceres located between the planets Jupiter and Mars reveal the geographical features of the planet. The pictures show the mountains, craters and cracks present on the surface of Ceres clearly.
The chief engineer and mission director of Dawn, Marc Rayman, expressed his satisfaction over the progress of the mission and about the images obtained of the dwarf planet. He said that the spacecraft is performing faultlessly in its new orbit and is conducting the exploration in an ambitious manner. Compared to its earlier mapping orbit, the present orbit is providing three times sharper views of the planet and this helps in getting intriguing details of the dwarf planet in a convincing way.
One of the pictures shows a cone shaped structure of about six kilometers wide protruding from the flat surface of the planet. Scientists have identified it as a mountain on the surface of this planet.
According to scientists capturing the images of the entire surface of the dwarf planet will take much time, as each captured image shows only one percent of the total surface of planet Ceres. Moreover, due to the great distance between the spacecraft and the earth it takes about 11 days for the captured images to reach NASA. The present pictures released were received by NASA on August 21.
Scientists are confident that they will be able to evaluate the details and information regarding the surface of the planet Ceres using the latest three-dimensional modeling technique and with the help of a superior quality framing camera.
It is expected that the gravitational field measurement study and mineral research about the planet will be made easier with the help of detailed images received from Dawn.
Dawn spacecraft is equipped with specialized infrared spectrometer instruments which will give a closer look of the minerals present of the planet’s surface.
Dawn is the first mission spacecraft to visit any dwarf planet. However, it is not the first orbiting voyage made by this spacecraft. Dawn spacecraft has visited a much larger asteroid named Vesta and orbited it from 2011 to 2012.
The scientists believe that more and more details regarding the geography and mineral contents of the dwarf planet will be revealed by the comprehensive images of the planet that will be broadcasted to NASA from the dawn spacecraft in the coming months.