NASA's Dawn mission gets up close with Ceres

Nasa’s Dawn mission has provided new photos taken in low orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, proving a new look upon the planet’s surface.

While NASA’s New Horizons mission captures more information about Pluto, the agency’s sister project, the Dawn mission, is studying the dwarf planet Ceres in its lowest orbit yet.
The spacecraft has now provided images of the brightest area of Ceres’ surface, which is in the centre of the Occator crater, showing a dome inside of the pit.
Read: NASA spacecraft “œNew Horizons“ reaches Pluto
Researchers believe that the veins visible in the image above are reflective of geological activity which could have occurred in the ‘recent past’ – which, you the rest of us, means millions of years ago.
So far, the Dawn mission has revealed that Ceres doesn’t possess as many impact craters as previously thought, with one crater – named Hualani – being composed of different materials that what is evident on the surface of the planet.
The agency has further made use of the Dawn spacecraft to measure the dwarf planet’s composition using its Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector, which has found that the planet could harbour water in its polar regions.
NASA took to YouTube to explain Dawn’s findings more fully, highlighting several of the images captured by the mission so far.
Nearly one year ago, the agency’s New Horizons mission arrived near Pluto, having travelled over 4.8 billion kilometres from Earth over a period of 9 years.
New Horizons continues to capture high-definition images of Pluto, working alongside the Dawn mission to provide images of some of the furthest planets in our solar system.
Read: NASA releases 360-degree footage of Mars
What are your thoughts on the new images of Ceres captured by NASA’s Dawn mission? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA