Stars on Occator's Floor
These "stars" found on the floor of Ceres' Occator Crater belong to the Vinalia Faculae. The faculae are deposits of salts, in particular sodium carbonate, possibly extruded through fractures connecting the surface to a deep reservoir of salty liquid.
The images used in this montage were obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in June 2018 from an altitude of about 21 miles (34 kilometers). NASA announced the conclusion of Dawn's mission operations was Oct. 31, 2018, when the spacecraft depleted its hydrazine.
The center of this feature is located at about 20.2 degrees north latitude and 241.3 degrees east longitude, in the eastern part of Occator Crater.
Occator Crater is named after the Roman agricultural deity of the harrowing, a helper of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships.
Dawn's mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorates Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. JPL is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.
For a complete list of Dawn mission participants, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission.
For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.