NASA's New Images of Ceres Show a Strange Conical Mountain

NASA's New Images of Ceres Show a Strange Conical Mountain

The American space agency NASA's Dawn probe has recently transmitted pictures of Ceres that were taken from a distance of 915 miles up. One of the pictures shows a strange looking conical mountain on its surface, said agency.

As per NASA experts, so far they have no explanation for what created the strange structure on the Ceres's surface, but it's clearer than ever that even a seemingly featureless celestial body can hold its share of surprises.

When the tall, cone-shaped mountain that has attracted much interest from scientists and the public alike was first seen in images taken by the Dawn spacecraft months ago, the 21,120-foot-tall mountain was dubbed a 'pyramid'.

In new images, taken from just 915 miles above Ceres on August 19, the 'lonely mountain' turns out not to be a pyramid but rather it is quite conical.

The mountain is covered with bright streaks of unknown origin, similar to the dwarf planet's mysterious white spots, which might be ice or salt but that continues to baffle scientists.

NASA said in a statement that the borders of the base of the mountain are very sharply defined, with almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope.

The new images of Ceres also show a round impact features, craters and ridges, the agency added. Ceres is the largest body in the solar system's asteroid belt.

The recent images were obtained after the craft moved closer to the surface. Marc Rayman, Dawn mission director at the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said, "Dawn is performing flawlessly in this new orbit as it conducts its ambitious exploration. The spacecraft's view is now three times as sharp as in its previous mapping orbit, revealing exciting new details of this intriguing dwarf planet".

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