Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 


Peter Diamandis

Dawn Spacecraft Images Reveal 'Ice Rinks' on Ceres

Posted in Science on 13th May, 2015 09:17 PM by AlexMuller

Something weird is happening on the dwarf planet Ceres, which at 950 kilometers wide is the largest object in the Asteroid Belt. Since its arrival in Ceres’s vicinity earlier this spring, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has glimpsed highly reflective bright spots dotting the surface. No one yet knows what exactly they are or how they got there.

Periodically snapping pictures as it gradually spirals down to a low-altitude “survey” orbit, Dawn has provided a slow-motion zoom-in on the dwarf planet, allowing imaginations to run wild as experts and laypeople alike seek to discern structures and patterns in the low-resolution images. Consequently, many possible explanations for the bright spots have emerged, some more plausible than others, and the ideas shift with each new vista Dawn beams home. The spots could be salts deposited by briny vapors from gushing geysers or, less likely, plumes from water-spewing “cryovolcanoes.”
Now some scientists think the spots may be reflections from water ice, after viewing Dawn’s newest images. These pictures, taken from an altitude of 13,500 kilometers and at a resolution of 1.3 kilometers per pixel, capture a full rotation of Ceres. That relatively high resolution allowed researchers to determine that the brightness and flatness of some of the spots closely matches what would be expected of ice.
It also revealed that what looked to be one or two large bright spots in a crater actually is a complex of many much smaller spots. “As our pictures have increased in resolution, the brightest spot broke into two spots, and now we can see a whole field of tiny spots in that crater,” says Christopher Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We are now sure that the light could be sunlight bouncing back from the surface, similar to what we would expect from a reflection from ice on the surface.”
The presence of exposed ice on Ceres would be a surprise, because ice should be unstable on the dwarf planet’s airless surface, turning from a solid into a gas and drifting into space rather than sticking around. That process, however, may be exactly what the Herschel Space Observatory saw last year when it observed tenuous wisps of water vapor around Ceres.

Tags: iceCeresspaceastronomyNASADawnspacecraft

Read original article » Back to category


Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-05-14
More information is clearly needed before confirming water and ice on Ceres - we are not going to jump into quick conclusions Reply


Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2018-03-24 00:24:10
    Algorithm will allow for simulating an entire brain more
    Posted in Software on 2018-03-24 00:16:27
    DeepMind explores inner workings of artificial more
    Posted in Medicine on 2018-03-24 00:12:47
    Rise in cancers 'caused by weight' more
    Posted in Hardware on 2018-03-21 20:44:48
    Study: Apple Watch Cardiogram app bested EKG band more
    Posted in Medicine on 2018-03-21 20:42:10
    The wearable brain scanner you can move around more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    In five years quantum computing will be more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Google partners with Johnson and Johnson to make lower more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Electron holography microscope with spatial resolution down more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Lower cost advanced Nuclear power could dominate future US more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Why Hasn’t AI Mastered Language Translation? more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me