Animation of false-color images made from Dawn data showing various angles of Cerealia Facula on Ceres. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
First observed with the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003, the curious bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres—the largest world in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter—was brought into exquisite focus with the arrival of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in 2015. The largest and brightest of these spots—a single 340-meter-high mound named Cerealia Facula and a cluster just to its east named Vinalia Faculae, both of which are located inside the 92-km-wide Occator Crater—were focal points during Dawn’s approach to Ceres. After investigation by the spacecraft after it entered orbit on March 6, 2015, the bright spots were determined to be deposits of salt—specifically sodium carbonate, which had risen to Ceres’s surface from somewhere underground. But when, from where and how far down remained a mystery.
Now, scientists on the Dawn mission have found the answers.
Dawn image of Occator Crater on Ceres with Cerealia Facula near the center and Vinalia Faculae to its east. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)
The following is from a news report issued by NASA on August 10, 2020:
Long before Dawn arrived at Ceres in 2015, scientists ...