Landslides on the dwarf planet Ceres

He is small, but apparently restless, the dwarf planet Ceres. As new footage from NASA’s dawn spacecraft debris on the bottom of a crater. A clear sign of landslides.

The first pictures that sent dawn over the past year, showed only a tiny point. The images of the dwarf planet Ceres, which revolves around the Sun in an asteroid belt were made also from a distance of 1.2 million kilometers. Because Dawn has come now but already much closer: currently 385 km distance to Ceres correspond to approximately between the Earth and the international space station ISS.

planet Ceres
This image of Ceres is a mosaic composed of perspective different recordings of NASA’s dawn spacecraft. It is only 385 km from Ceres. In the middle of Haulani crater can be seen. Photo: NASA

In astronomical dimensions that is just before the collision. The new pictures, which has sent the NASA probe after about three years of space travel are appropriately meaningful. Among other things the Haulani crater, which measures approximately 34 km point. On its soil smooth material and a “central line” can be found, as the U.S. Space Agency.

Bluish color indicates signs of young

These were clear indications of landslides from the edge of the crater. Researchers can look thanks to an artificial image coloring quasi in the material and see how it behaves to the surface of the floor. According to NASA, the fresh images show bluish material and the color blue is synonymous with “young” developments on Ceres. Thus, such landslides were triggered, is not known.

The crater oxo on Ceres. Photo: NASA

Contrast the deposits from older parts of the surface, reports Martin Hoffmann, who is jointly responsible for the camera functions of the probe in the Göttinger Max Planck Institute for solar system research.

Hope on finding

Another 10 km diameter much smaller crater on Ceres, however, are more puzzles scientists. It is the second brightest structure of the dwarf planet. This crater named “Oxo” also has an unusual loss of material along its edge, and the minerals on its background appear different than in other places on Ceres.