The mystical mountain surges up in a striking photograph of Ceres

The mystical mountain surges up in a striking photograph of Ceres

At first glance it seems that this pile of excavated material from the crater is in many ways similar to the trench created in the sandbox by a child. But when you realize that this pile of material is actually 3 miles high and is on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, the situation becomes quite interesting.

But the resulting image from NASA's Dawn ship, which revolves around Ceres in the main Asteroid Belt, is clear that this is the clearest picture of a mountain ever made. She was called the Lonely Mountain. It is several times larger than Mount Rainier in Washington and Mount Whitney in California, and also looks like a pyramid from a distance.

Dawn now revolves around Ceres in the closest orbit of 240 miles. The mountain is more like a dome than a pyramid, but the assumptions about how it formed and why it took on a similar shape are not confirmed by anything. This mosaic of high-resolution paintings was compiled in December. With the help of it, we can see in detail the steep, smooth mountain slopes, streaked with bright material.

“No one expected to see the mountain on Ceres, especially such as the Lonely Mountain,” said research advisor Don Chris Russell of the University of California at Los Angeles. "We all do not even have preliminary assumptions about the reasons for the formation of the object."

The famous crater Okkator is located approximately 420 miles northwest of Lonely Mountain. The huge recess is filled with fancy white areas that have not yet been explained. It is possible that the bright features on the slopes of the mountain reveal a common source of origin with white spots of Occator. Scientists hope that by taking samples from both places, this question can be answered. “The ship began plotting the main objects on Ceres map in December, but only recently its orbital path allowed it to view the brightest area of ​​Occator,” said Mark Reimen, chief engineer Don and mission director at the NASA jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, California. “This dwarf planet is quite large, so it will take a lot of orbital expeditions before we get an idea of ​​how the camera and other sensors work.”

Exactly a year ago, on March 6, 2015, the spacecraft arrived in the orbit of Ceres, continuing historical research Asteroid belt between the orbits Mars and Jupiter. Having already investigated a large asteroid from 2011 to 2012, the ship was slowly on its way to Ceres, to its second orbital target. The mission has changed our view of this region of the solar system, revealing the cause and process of the origin of the planets and highlighting some intriguing secrets.

“Ceres challenged our expectations and was surprised in every way. We are absorbed in working with the information that the spacecraft has provided us, ”said Carol Raymond.

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