This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft showing the northern part of Hanami Planum on Ceres honors the Japanese cherry blossom festival, or 'Hanami,' a long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring.

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft showing the northern part of Hanami Planum on Ceres honors the Japanese cherry blossom festival, or "Hanami," which is a long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring.

Hanami Planum is the third largest geological feature on Ceres, after Vendimia Planitia and the Samhain Catenae. It extends over 345 miles (555 kilometers). This image shows familiar features, such as Occator Crater, characterized both by bright material inside the crater and dark ejecta material outside. Several parallel linear features, called Junina Catenae, can be seen departing from Occator and extending toward the top of the image. These catenae are chains of small craters formed by the impact and scouring of material ejected when large craters are formed. Scientists were able to relate these crater chains to Urvara and Yalode. Even though these are located in the southern hemisphere, some of their ejecta could reach the northern hemisphere, thanks to Ceres' fast rotation and small size.

This image was obtained by Dawn on June 15, 2015. The spacecraft was then in its survey orbit (2,700 miles, or 4,400 kilometers high), when the footprint of Dawns framing camera on Ceres surface was about 260 miles (420 kilometers). The resolution is 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel. The central coordinates of the picture are 14 degrees north latitude, 213 degrees east in longitude.

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. UCLA 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.

View all Images