New data from NASA's spacecraft Dawn reveals a great deal about the dwarf planet.
According to phys.org, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed stunning new topographical maps of the dwarf planet Ceres. These maps reveal that the height difference between the bottoms of craters and the tops of mountains are as large as 9 miles (15 km). For comparison, the difference in elevation between the lowest point on earth, the Marianas Trench, and the highest, Mount Everest is about 12 miles.One of the new discoveries includes a mysterious crater named Occator, which contains the brightest spots on the planet.Ceres is one of the largest celestial objects in the asteroid belt which separates Mars from Jupiter, for comparison, it is almost half the size of the much more distant dwarf pluto.
In addition to these recent discoveries, scientists will continue to examine data from the Dawn’s third, and even closer orbit to Ceres. They have already discovered a plethora of fascinating mountains and craters, some of which have been given official names, inspired by spirits and deities relating to agriculture from a variety of cultures.
As of today, Dawn is approaching its third orbit, a mere 900 miles (less than 1,500 kilometers) above the surface, which is about three times closer to the planet than its previous orbit. The spacecraft will reach this orbit in mid-August, and it will resume collecting images and other data.