Dawn spacecraft that has already raised the levels of curiosity with bright spots captured a baffling pyramid-shaped peak towering in a flat surrounding landscape on the dwarf planet, similar to Himalayan Mount Everest.
DAWN spacecraft has found a merterious pyramid on Ceres, the dwarf planet it is moving towards to take closer shots to unravel the mystery of bright spots that has raised the curiosity levels of astro-physicists.
The latest pictures of Ceres taken by Dawn from a distance of 4,400 km above Ceres show that the pyramid is towering significantly when compared to other flat surrounding region and NASA scientists estimate its height at about 5 kilometers from the ground.
So far, the intriguing bright spots located in a crater about 90 kilometres across, shows even more small spots in the crater than were previously visible, NASA said.
Describing the peak as unique and surprising, Carol Raymond of the Dawn mission team based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said, “icy moons in the outer solar system have craters with central pits, but on Ceres central pits in large craters are much more common.”
Dawn is equipped with an infrared mapping spectrometer that allows scientists to identify certain minerals on the surface of Ceres by the reflection of the light on them. while the speculation is that the bright spots could be icy craters, another version says that it could be salt deposits left from the dried ocean tops.
Another ineresting feature on Ceres is that there are traces of past oceans, water flows and landslides and collapsed structures on the dwarf planet, which is intriguing the scientists and making them curious too, especially after Dawn’s first images of its earlier destination Vesta where the spacecraft had spent 14 months in 2011 and 2012.
Dawn has arrived at Ceres, the largest asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter in March this year and has been inching closer to its surface taking brighter and closer pictures in the last few days. After June 30, Dawn will move into a close orbit at an altitude of 1,450 km on Ceres.