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Five of the strangest asteroids and dwarf planets...

2 Oct 2017, 00:21 UTC
Five of the strangest asteroids and dwarf planets... NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
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Above: Pluto, a world half the size of the US but stranger than anything dreamed up by sci-fi writers.Most people thinking of space exploration think of the planets - Mars, Venus, even Jupiter and its Moons. But that's missing something - hundreds of somethings in fact: The large asteroids and dwarf planets make up a collection of worlds as varied and compelling as the terrestrial planets. So here are a few of the oddest...Ceres:The king of the asteroid belt, Ceres is a dwarf planet nearly a thousand kilometres across. It's also one of the relatively few asteroids to have been visited by a human space craft - in fact the Dawn space probe is still in orbit, surveying this small world. Despite its small size Dawn has shown that there's still recent signs of geologic activity on that 4 billion year old surface, and perhaps even hints of subsurface water.Above: A simulated flight over Ceres, assembled from data supplied by the Dawn probe.Vesta:The first small world visited by the Dawn probe, Vesta proved to be a world with a history of cataclysmic violence. Already suspected to have been a hot, churning, volcanic world in its youth, Dawn found that the ...

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