The NASA Dawn spacecraft will arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres on 6 March 2015. Once there, it will record the surface with the German-developed Framing Camera. This image was acquired from a distance of 237,000 kilometres from the dwarf planet.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft was launched on 27 September 2007. On 16 July 2011, it arrived at the asteroid Vesta, which it explored until 5 September 2012. The spacecraft then departed for the dwarf planet Ceres, where it will arrive on 6 March 2015. The Dawn mission is the first to successively study two celestial bodies from orbit.
These two views of Ceres were acquired by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Feb. 12, 2015, from a distance of about 52,000 miles (83,000 kilometers) as the dwarf planet rotated. The images, which were taken about 10 hours apart, have been magnified from their original size. The Dawn spacecraft is due to arrive at Ceres on March 6, 2015.
These images of dwarf planet Ceres were acquired on 25 February 2015, at a distance of 40,000 kilometres, by the German-built Framing Camera on board NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The image resolution is 3.7 kilometres per pixel.
This image of the dwarf planet Ceres was acquired on 1 March 2015, by the German-built Framing Camera on board NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, from a distance of 49,000 kilometres. The image resolution is 4.6 kilometres per pixel. This is the last image acquired before Dawn entered orbit around Ceres. During this manoeuvre, no further imaging was possible because Dawn could not point its instruments towards the surface of the dwarf planet.
This image shows a side of dwarf planet Ceres not previously imaged by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Cere’s surface is covered with several bright spots and impressive craters - some of which feature a central mountain. The picture was taken by the camera system on board Dawn on 4 February 2015 from a distance of 145 000 kilometers.
There are several unusually bright patches on the surface of Ceres. The brightest of these is in the middle of a large impact crater and is clearly visible in this image. It is also obvious that there is another, slightly less bright region, apparently in the same impact basin. The German-built Framing Camera on board NASA’s Dawn spacecraft acquired this image on 19 February 2015, from nearly 46,000 kilometres away.
The white spots in a crater on Ceres can be seen at the top of this image, which was acquired by the Dawn orbiter on 15 April 2015.
This image was acquired by the Framing Camera on board the Dawn spacecraft on 19 August 2015. From an altitude of 1470 kilometres, the interior of Urvara Crater is visible. A mountain range can be seen in the lower left corner of the image, and the crater rim can be observed to the right of the image.
This image of the dwarf planet Ceres was acquired on 19 August 2015 by the Dawn spacecraft from a distance of 1470 kilometres. It shows a six-kilometre high, pyramid-shaped mountain in the southern hemisphere between the craters Kirnis, Rongo and Yalode. Note the bright stripes on its steep slopes. The image resolution is 140 metres per pixel.
This image of Gaue crater on the dwarf planet Ceres was acquired on 18 August 2015. The 84-kilometre diameter crater partially overlaps an older crater. The image was acquired by the Dawn Framing Camera from a distance of 1470 kilometres from the surface .
This mosaic shows the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres and is composed of images acquired by the German-built Framing Camera on board NASA's Dawn mission on 19 February 2015. The distance between the camera and Ceres was 46,000 kilometres and the image resolution is four kilometres per pixel.
As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft sent the first images of Vesta back to Earth in July 2011, scientists immediately noticed numerous troughs, as if carved with a gigantic plough. This image shows two troughs in the Divalia Fossa system, running parallel to the lower edge of the image. The majority of these troughs extend along the equator, but a second group – inclined with respect to the equator – have been identified in the northern hemisphere. These parallel trenches are usually several hundred kilometres long, up to 15 kilometres wide and more than one kilometre in depth. They are the result of two large asteroid impacts at the South Pole, demonstrating that impact events that occurred hundreds of kilometres apart caused shocks throughout Vesta and altered its surface.
A visitor from Earth would encounter a dramatic landscape at Vesta's south pole: cliffs several kilometres high, deep trenches and craters which have formed the southern tip of this fascinating protoplanet in the asteroid belt, and a mountain massif up to 15 kilometres high. For the scientists working on the Dawn mission, it is not yet clear how this wild landscape was formed – collisions with other asteroids contributed, but also the internal processes that played a role during the asteroid’s early formation phases. This diagonal view was derived from a global digital elevation model of the asteroid created from stereo image data obtained with the German Framing Camera on board NASA's Dawn space probe at an altitude of 2420 kilometres above Vesta's surface. The images, which were acquired during Dawn's observation orbit, have a resolution of about 250 metres per pixel.