NASA has been busy these days, and they’ve released some fresh goodies from the Dawn mission showing off a flyby of the massive asteroid Ceres.
Compiled from detailed photographs, the video creates 3D images from the minor planet, showing off a pyramid-like mountain and some massive craters that dig more than two miles into the asteroid’s surface. The whole thing is cool, but the mountain and one specific crater could be the most interesting finds.
The steep slopes of the mountain, which have been likened to a cone or a pyramid, appear to be four miles high, comparable to Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska, the highest point in North America. There’s also the question of what the heck is creating the bright spots on the planet, specifically the shining spot in the Occator crater, and scientists still aren’t sure if it’s ice or something else (salt? aliens?).
"There are many other features that we are interested in studying further," said Dawn science team member David O'Brien, with the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona. "These include a pair of large impact basins called Urvara and Yalode in the southern hemisphere, which have numerous cracks extending away from them, and the large impact basin Kerwan, whose center is just south of the equator."
Check out the flyby below, and give us your best guess on the bright spots and mysterious pyramid peak: