Images from NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft show new details on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, shown above. The images, taken Feb. 12 when Dawn was 83,000 kilometers from Ceres, have been stretch to maximize the contrast of surface features. These show craters, brighter spot-like features, possible extended trough and ridge structures. The images, which were taken about 5 hours apart, have been magnified from their original size.
“Ceres is revealing a complex surface that may relate not just to impacts, but also to interior processes,” said Mark Sykes, Planetary Science Institute Director and co-investigator on the Dawn mission. “The larger structures also appear to be more rounded and relaxed, which could be due to an ice-rich composition of its outer layer.”
The spacecraft’s gamma ray and neutron detector is operated by PSI. The science mission begins when Dawn inserts itself into orbit on March 6.