As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is set to enter the orbit of an unknown world of Ceres orbit today, after almost five-year wait, astronomers are enthusiastically waiting for the rendezvous hoping the moment will live up the expectations of clearer picture of the alien world.
The dwarf planet, Ceres, located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is key to understand the solar system and planetary formation and understand how Earth would have formed.
Watch Slooh’s Ceres live stream HERE:
The website Slooh will provide a live streaming of Dawn’s rendezvous with Ceres on Friday from 1 p.m. EST (11:00 PM IST), besides providing live images of the dwarf planet. The Australian website will simultaneously hold a live discussion with Dr. Lucy McFadden, co-investigator for the Dawn mission.
Slooh host Will gater said few such astronomical events are seen from a close up as today’s with Dawn’s imminent arrival at Ceres that’s exactly what astronomers have been waiting for months. “The mission should tell us a great deal about the history and composition of this enigmatic dwarf planet. And, as we’ve seen with those mysterious bright ‘spots’, there will always be thrilling surprises to investigate along the way. I can’t wait to see what Dawn will show us!”
In fact, Dawn studied another asteroid Vesta on its way to Ceres in 2011 and 2012 and the data has already thrown up some interesting aspects of our solar system’s formation.
“These bodies are samples of the building blocks that have formed Venus, Earth and Mars. Vesta-like bodies are believed to have contributed heavily to the core of our planet, and Ceres-like bodies may have provided our water,” Carol Raymond, Dawn investigator, said.
Moreover, Dawn’s arrival at Ceres will unravel the mystery behind the bright two spots seen on Ceres surface in recent photographs sent by the spacecraft. Seen together almost like twins on a spot in the dwarf planet, it has raised enthusiasm levels of researchers and commoners alike. Some speculation that has gone into it says they could be ice layers reflecting sun light.