NASA wants your best guess in identifying the Ceres’ “mysterious” bright spots


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has set up a website that will collect votes regarding the bright mysterious spots on Ceres.

Dawn spacecraft was launched to observe the dwarf planets Ceres and Vesta. Early this year, it captured images that revealed exceptionally bright spots on the surface. But scientists at NASA’s JPL, which is managing the Dawn mission, cannot confirm more details about the spots.

NASA is now engaging the public by asking them what they think about the mysterious spots on the dwarf planet Ceres, through an online vote.

Observers have six options to choose from: volcano, geyser, rock, ice, salt deposit or other.

The most popular possibility so far is ice, with 33 percent of the vote. The next is other, with 28 percent, followed by volcano, geyser, salt deposit and rock.

NASA discloses that Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, about 590 miles in diameter. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit a dwarf planet and it has already studied Vesta from 2011 to 2012. Scientists expound that understanding more about Ceres and Vesta will shed light on the evolution of the solar system.

Dawn has successfully sent images of Ceres to scientists on the Earth and the spacecraft will continue to observe and find more details about Ceres in the near time.

In early May, the spacecraft will also travel to the lower orbit of Ceres to obtain better views and make further observations. The craft will take images of the dwarf planet from about 8,400 miles, or 13,500 kilometers, over the surface.

Marc Rayman, Dawn’s mission director and chief engineer at the JPL said, “The approach imaging campaign has completed successfully by giving us a preliminary, tantalizing view of the world Dawn is about to start exploring in detail. It has allowed us to start asking some new and intriguing questions.”

Visit the new Ceres website to poll what you think about the mysterious white spots on Ceres surface. Go ahead and cast out your vote.




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