A new video from NASA’s Dawn Mission offers a stunning look at the dwarf planet Ceres, revealing a towering mountain and mysterious glowing spots in unprecedented, 3D detail.
The mountain is shaped like a pyramid, and is about 4 miles high, making it the same elevation as Mount McKinley in Alaska, reports Daily Mail.
“This mountain is among the tallest features we’ve seen on Ceres to date,” said Paul Schenk, Dawn science team member and geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute of Houston.
This mountain is among the tallest features we’ve seen on Ceres to date. ‘It’s unusual that it’s not associated with a crater. Why is it sitting in the middle of nowhere? We don’t know yet, but we may find out with closer observations.
Occator crator, home to Ceres’ infamous bright spots, takes its name from the Roman agriculture deity of harrowing — a method of smoothing and pulverizing soil. The scientists have been speculating about these bright spots since January when Dawn first approached the dwarf planet reports Space.com.
The spots are so far not consistent with the properties of ice, according to the Dawn researchers.
“The science team is continuing to evaluate the data and discuss theories about these bright spots at Occator,” said Chriss Russeel of UCLA, principal investigator of Dawn.
The science team is continuing to evaluate the data and discuss theories about these bright spots at Occator. We are now comparing the spots with the reflective properties of salt, but we are still puzzled by their source. We look forward to new, higher-resolution data from the mission’s next orbital phase.