Dawn Finds Strange Pyramid

NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes a closeup of mysterious pyramid on Ceres.

Posted by Kirk on 13 October 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has moved in for a closer view of the dwarf planet Ceres. In mid-August Dawn descended to an altitude of around 1400 kilometers, its images have become three times sharper. This has allowed scientists to zoom in on a 6500 meter high mountain in Ceres' southern hemisphere.

The conical peak, that is taller than Mt. McKinley (the tallest mountain in North America), has glossy sides that are composed of a reflective material that is possibly ice. The mountain juts out of a fairly flat region, and scientists puzzled about how it may have formed.

Closeup of a Mountain on Ceres Image Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Dawn will continue surveying Ceres from this new vantage until December, when it'll descend further to an altitude of 370 kilometers from Ceres' surface. This will attempt to find some answers on this and other weird shiny spots on the dwarf planet's surface.

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