Daybreak spacecraft captures a sunlit Ceres on cam
The Daybreak spacecraft has just lately captured the sharpest footage of Ceres thus far, displaying the dwarf planet’s vibrant, sunlit north pole. NASA’s area probe has been steadily making its method to the celestial physique since 2012 after a 14-month stint orbiting the asteroid Vesta. It fired up its ion thrusters in March to slowly strategy the Texas-sized proto-planet and settle into orbit, till it reaches an altitude of 233 miles from the floor. Its final aim? To take 3D photographs and create a excessive-res map of Ceres, which could harbor some type of water.
These photographs (proven as an animation above) have been taken on April tenth, whereas the spacecraft was nonetheless 21,000 miles away — for reference, the space between the Earth and the moon is 238,900 miles. As you possibly can see Ceres seems to be mighty cratered, identical to our personal moon. These pictures will not be often known as the sharpest photographs of Ceres for lengthy, although: the spacecraft is sure to take even higher ones because it will get nearer to the dwarf planet.
[Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA]