Images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed a pyramid like structure similar to Himalayan mountains on the dwarf planet Ceres. While orbiting in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter the probe has also captured some mysterious bright spots on the dwarf planet. According to scientists, Dawn has kept a close eye on the Ceres recently and has been orbiting just 4,400 km above the surface of Ceres.
The images reveal that the pyramid-like structure might be up to three miles tall. The entire surface on the dwarf planet is flat except the protruding structure thus, it got the attention of the NASA scientists. While examining the images, scientists found eight bright spots near to the brightest spot in a 90 km wide crater.
Carol Raymond, deputy principal examiner for the Dawn mission, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said that the dwarf planet Ceres has many interesting features on its surface and analysing these features will help us in better understanding the internal structure of the dwarf planet.
While orbiting Ceres, Dawn examines amount of minerals present on the dwarf planet’s surface with the help of an infrared mapping spectrometer. The infrared spectrometer works on light reflected by the surface of the planet. One theory suggests that bright spots could be icy craters, while other says that it could be salt deposits, formed after oceans dried up.
Now, scientists are planning to send Dawn even more closer to Ceres so that it can click a closer shot which will unravel the mystery of these bright spots and protruding structure.
Launched in September 2007, Dawn space probe reached Ceres on 6 March 2015. Its prime motive was to observe two dwarf bodies, Vesta and Ceres in order to answer questions related to the birth of our Solar system and to test the performance of its ion drive in deep space. Dawn entered Vesta orbit on July 16 2011, and completed a 14-month survey mission before leaving for Ceres in late 2012.