This is the closest view of the crater surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, obtained to date, it is also the most detailed view of some mysterious bright spots. Despite the fact that we have received such a detailed image of the surface of Ceres, the nature of bright spots remains unknown.
This new series of images, which was joined together in the form of animation, was obtained between May 3 and 4 from a distance of only 8400 miles (13,600 km), providing a resolution of 0, 8 miles (1, 3 km) per pixel.
"Now, scientists at the Dawn mission can conclude that the intense luminescence of these spots provides a highly reflective element on the surface, possibly ice," said Christopher Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission from the University of California at Los Angeles. The scientific mission of Dawn is now at the best stage of implementation since it was in orbit of the small world in March. The aircraft has now completed its first research from orbit. During its 15 day stay, the mission was able to explore the entire surface of the dwarf planet.
Scientists are currently planning an exploration of the orbit, which will be visible to the Dawn mission every 3 days, at an altitude of only 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers).
For more on Dawn’s orbit research, read the NASA JPL press release.