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New Dawn image release provides high-res views of Ceres’ craters

by • January 12, 2016 • No Comments

High resolution images snapped by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft capture four of Ceres’ craters in astonishing detail. Dawn not long ago accomplished transitioning to its third and final mapping orbit, which will see the spacecraft collect its most detailed images and readings to date of a height of roughly 240 miles (385 km) above the dwarf planet’s surface.

The new release focuses on geological showcases present in a selection of Ceres’ craters. The image of the Kupalo Crater boasts a resolution of roughly 120 ft (35 m) per pixel, and exhibits what appears to be bright salt deposits on the crater rim. Mission scientists are not yet certain whether these deposits bear any relation to the bright spots present in the now famous Occator Crater.

Image of the fractured floor of the Dantu Crater on Ceres

Also included in the release was the 78 mile (126 km) wide Dantu Crater. Unlike Kupalo, which owes its relatively flat crater floor to a combination of impact melt and subsequent settling of debris, Dantu exhibits a striking network of fiscertains marring the crater basin. Dawn’s science team believes which the fractures may be the result of the crater floor being uplifted and cracking following the initial impact

Other instruments such as Dawn’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer and her gamma ray and neutron detector (GraND), are locked in a race against time to collect as much information as possible in order to characterize Ceres prior to the termination of the probe’s primary mission, which is slated to take place on June 30, 2016.

Source: NASA


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