NASA Ceres Video Tour

Published on August 06, 2015

NASA Ceres Video Tour

    Based on photos sent by the Dawn probe, NASA experts created a “video tour” of Ceres. The video shows the most remarkable places of the planetoid - for example, the Occator crater, at the bottom of which there are those same white spots. Let me remind you that not so long ago, scientists found in one of the photos a haze above the crater, which may indicate that the spots are the exit of ice to the surface, and not mineral salts.

    In addition, a high mountain of a pyramidal shape was found on Ceres. At the moment, experts say, this is the highest mountain of all discovered on Ceres. However, it is not entirely clear how such a hill could have arisen on a planetoid.

    To compile the video, we used surface images and a topographic map of the surface of Ceres, which was transmitted to the Earth last week. Based on all these data, specialists were able to create a three-dimensional model of Ceres.

    It is also interesting that the albedo of white spots is slightly lower than the albedo of the same water ice, so the question of the origin of the object cannot be considered completely resolved. Nevertheless, all these issues can become clear already this month, in the middle, when the station will decrease by a distance of 1.5 thousand kilometers from the surface of Ceres.

    Dawn reached Ceres on March 6 this year, and immediately began work on the study of the object. The total length of stay of the probe at Ceres will be about 16 months. At the same time, during the approach to the planetoid, the spacecraft had problems - the probe stopped responding to the commands of the control center. Immediately after this, the Dawn computer went into safe mode, and after a while it started working again.

    Recently, astronomers also posted a map of Ceres, along with another video: When you click, the image will open in full size (NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA)

    In addition to the Occator crater, which was mentioned above, there are deeper craters, for example, Dantu (120 km in diameter and 5 depth) and Ezinu (similar size). A larger object is the Urvara Crater with a diameter of 160 km and a depth of 6 km. Moreover, in the central part of the crater there is a peak 3 km high.

    The diameter of Ceres itself is 940 km, and this is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which is located between Mars and Jupiter. In fact, the size of Ceres is about 40% of the size of Pluto.