This collage shows some of the most interesting geological sites that NASA's Dawn spacecraft has revealed at dwarf planet Ceres.
Images were acquired with the spacecraft's framing camera during various phases of the mission: Survey orbit at a distance of about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers); high-altitude mapping orbit (HAMO) at a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers) from Ceres; and low-altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) at an altitude of 240 miles (385 kilometers).
In the first row, from left to right:
- Ceres in shown in false color, roughly centered on Occator Crater, home of the brightest area on Ceres. This picture combines color images obtained by Dawn in its survey orbit. Red corresponds to a wavelength range around 980 nanometers (near infrared), green to a wavelength range around 750 nanometers (red, visible light) and blue to a wavelength range of around 430 nanometers (blue, visible light). This picture illustrates the diversity of terrains on Ceres where the bluish material points to recently emplaced material and the brownish background material is associated with older terrains.
- Juling Crater (12 miles, 20 kilometers in diameter) as seen in LAMO. Central coordinates are 36 degrees south latitude, 168 degrees east longitude. It is named after the Sakai/Orang Asli (Malaysia) spirit of the crops. This crater displays evidence for the presence of ice -- for example, in the form of a large flow feature seen at the top of the image.
- Oxo Crater (6 miles, 10 kilometers in diameter) as seen in LAMO. Center coordinates are 42 degrees north latitude, 0 degrees east longitude. It is named after the god of agriculture in Afro-Brazilian beliefs of Yoruba derivation. Oxo hosts the first site at which Dawn detected ice on Ceres, exposed by a landslide.
- Ahuna Mons is not only a volcano, but also the tallest mountain on Ceres. It is about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high and 11 miles (17 kilometers) wide. Center coordinates are 10 degrees south latitude, 316 degrees east longitude. This view combines images obtained in LAMO in blue (430 nanometers), green (750 nanometers) and infrared (980 nanometers) color filters. Ahuna is named after the Sumi tribe (Nagaland, northeastern India) traditional post-harvest thanksgiving festival.
- Occator Crater (57 miles, 92 kilometers across) is seen in LAMO images. Center coordinates are 20 degrees north latitude, 239 degrees east longitude. Named after the Roman agricultural deity of the harrowing.
- This image shows a "Type I" flow feature with a thick "toe" typical of rock glaciers and icy landslides on Earth as viewed in LAMO. The flow feature, found in Ghanan Crater (77 degrees north latitude, 31 degrees east longitude), is one of the most voluminous on Ceres.
- Enhanced color view of Haulani Crater (21 miles, 34 kilometers in diameter) in color observed in HAMO. Central coordinates: 6 degrees north latitude, 11 degrees east longitude. Named after the Hawaiian plant goddess.
- Kokopelli Crater (21 miles, 34 kilometers in diameter) seen in LAMO. Central coordinates: 18 degrees north latitude, 125 degrees east longitude. Named after the Pueblo (SW USA) fertility deity, who presides over agriculture. This crater displays a nice arrangement of scarps that likely formed when the crater partly collapsed during its formation.
- Central region of Occator Crater, called Cerealia Facula, seen in color. The facula -- or "bright spot" -- is about 9 miles (14 kilometers) in diameter. Center coordinates: 20 N, 240 E. Cerealia refers to the major festival in Ancient Rome that celebrates the grain goddess Ceres (8 days in mid- to late April). The view was produced by combining the highest resolution images of Occator obtained in LAMO (at image scales of 35 meters, or 115 feet, per pixel) with color images obtained in HAMO (at image scales of 135 meters, or about 440 feet, per pixel). The three images used to produce the color were taken using filters centered at 430, 750 and 980 nanometers (the last being slightly beyond the range of human vision, in the near-infrared).
- North part of Nar Sulcus seen in LAMO. The full feature is about 39 miles (63 km) in length and is located around 42 degrees south latitude, 280 degrees east longitude. Nar is a Azerbaijani festival of pomegranate harvest held in October-November in Goychay city, center of pomegranate cultivation in Azerbaijan. A sulcus is a set of parallel furrows or ridges.
- Ikapati Crater (31 miles, 50 kilometers in diameter) seen in LAMO. Central coordinates: 34 degrees north latitude, 46 degrees east longitude. Ikapati is named after the Philippine goddess of the cultivated lands. The crater has a smooth floor, probably because heat from the impact that formed Ikapati caused ice in the ground to melt, and then refreeze.
- This view of Ceres, taken in LAMO, shows an area located at approximately 86 degrees south longitude, 177 degrees east longitude. This part of Ceres, near the south pole, has such long shadows because, from the perspective of this location, the sun is near the horizon. At the time this image was taken, the sun was 4 degrees north of the equator. If you were standing this close to Ceres' south pole, the sun would never get high in the sky during the course of a nine-hour Cerean day.
Dawn's mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate's 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.