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Ceres: Close Look at Occator Crater

7 Mar 2017, 17:00 UTC
Ceres: Close Look at Occator Crater
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We’ve looked recently at the possibility of cryovolcanism on Ceres with regard to the unusual feature called Ahuna Mons (see Ice Volcanoes on Ceres?). Now we have further evidence that outbursts of brine from beneath the surface have been occurring over long periods of time, and that some of these eruptions have been recent. The work comes out of analysis of data from the Dawn mission by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), and moves the debate to the unusual crater called Occator.

Image: This view of the whole Occator crater shows the brightly colored pit in its center and the cryovolcanic dome. The jagged mountains on the edge of the pit throw their shadows on parts of the pit. This image was taken from a distance of 1478 kilometers above the surface and has a resolution of 158 meters per pixel. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.
Dawn’s Low Altitude Mapping Orbit (December 2015 to September 2016) took the spacecraft to within 375 kilometers of the surface, allowing highly resolved images of Ceres’ surface to be obtained. The geological structures on display within Occator, tracked by the Dawn Framing Cameras and its infrared spectrometer, include smaller, younger craters ...

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