Ice Goes Into Hiding On Ceres / Dawn, Pluto Probe Update

We know there’s ice inside Ceres, but it may be chillin’ on the surface, too. Scientists with NASA’s Dawn mission have identified permanently shadowed craters on the dwarf planet that have likely been cold enough to trap water ice for a billion years. “The conditions on Ceres are right for accumulating deposits of water ice,” said…
Read More

Verdict In On Ceres Bright Spot — It’s Salt

Salt and butter. Ingredients essential to a happy life. At least one of those you’ll find on Ceres, and it ain’t butter. According to a new study from scientists on NASA’s Dawn mission published June 29 in the journal Nature, the dominant mineral of the mysterious “bright spot” in Ceres’ Occator Crater is sodium carbonate, a…
Read More

Dawn Spacecraft May Visit A Secret Destination

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta for 14 months in 2011 and 2012, and then departed for Ceres, where it’s orbited since March 2015. This week, Dawn’s been taking stereo views of the dwarf planet’s terrain from just 233 miles (375 kilometers) up or about 20 miles lower than the altitude of the International Space Station. Dawn’s dual-asteroid mission…
Read More

Dawn Gets Eye-popping Closeups Of Ceres’ Bright Spots

Seeing these new photos goes a long way toward satisfying our curiosity about Ceres’ bright spots, first seen in Hubble Space Telescope photos and revealed in ever increasing detail by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. The new pictures showing the brightest of the bright were taken from what the Dawn team calls “LAMO” or low-altitude mapping orbit just…
Read More

Ceres Has A Shiny Mountain

This Cerean mountain is beautiful to behold. Maybe it’s a lack of resolution or maybe the debris that formed the finely striated slopes is composed of a different mix of materials than seen on Earth, but the nearly parallel furrows make for an incredible sight. I almost want to grab a sand sled and go…
Read More