First complete look at Ceres‘ Poles
MPS-researchers have composed the first comprehensive views of the North and South Pole region of dwarf planet Ceres from images obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany have composed the first comprehensive views of the North (left) and South Pole region (right) of dwarf planet Ceres from images obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. The images were taken in the past months by the scientific camera system on board from a distance of 1470 kilometers.
The region centered around the South Pole is black in this representation. Reason for this is that this area on Ceres’ surface has been lying in the shade ever since Dawn’s arrival at the dwarf planet and is therefore not visible.
Detailed maps of the polar regions allow researchers to study the craters in this area and compare them to those covering other parts of Ceres. Variations in shape and complexity can point to different surface compositions. In addition, the bottoms of some of the craters located close to the Poles receive no sunlight throughout Ceres’ orbit around the Sun. The scientists want to investigate, whether surface ice can be found there.
Dawn's mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK, Inc., of Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The framing cameras were provided by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen, Germany, with significant contributions by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The framing camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA.