NASA Spacecraft Captures Striking Image Of Craters On Dwarf Planet Ceres

By Zack Stieber

New images of craters on the dwarf planet Ceres were recently revealed by NASA.

The space agency captured images of the planet with the Dawn spacecraft, using visible and infrared mapping spectrometer.

The mission previously found water ice in a dozen sites on Ceres; two new papers published earlier this year in Science Advances revealed an abundance of ice on the northern wall of the Juling Crater, which spans 12 miles in diameter.

“This is the first direct detection of change on the surface of Ceres,” said Andrea Raponi of the Institute of Astrophysics and Planetary Science in Rome.

“The combination of Ceres moving closer to the sun in its orbit, along with seasonal change, triggers the release of water vapor from the subsurface, which then condenses on the cold crater wall. This causes an increase in the amount of exposed ice. The warming might also cause landslides on the crater walls that expose fresh ice patches,” she said.

 
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