Enigmatic Bright Spots Detected on Ceres Referring to Geological Activity on the Planet


Dawn space probe was launched in September 2007 by NASA with a mission to study two among three proto planets of asteroid belt as Vesta and another is Ceres. The space probe has been exploring and orbiting the new world on both proto planets Vesta and Ceres, and has sent back some of the mysterious pictures of dwarf Ceres planet to earth.

Since, the surface of Ceres is dark otherwise, as the images obtained from Dawn have shown hundreds of spots which are bright and stand exceptionally out in those pictures.

NASA’s team of scientist examined the images to understand how those bright reflective places could have been created and how they developed by the course of time, indicating effectively towards an active and evolving world.

Carol Raymond is a deputy principal investigator for the Dawn mission based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena, California. Raymond with his colleagues disclosed the latest evidences about those bright spots at the meeting of American Geophysical Union on Tuesday, 12th December in New Orleans.

Raymond said in a statement that, “The mysterious bright spots on Ceres, which have captivated both the Dawn science team and the public, reveal evidence of Ceres’ past subsurface ocean, and indicate that, far from being a dead world, Ceres is surprisingly active. Geological processes created these bright areas and may still be changing the face of Ceres today.”

The report released by NASA says that, “The Mountain Ahuna Mons gets its own fourth category — the one instance on Ceres where bright material is unaffiliated with any impact crater. This likely cryovolcano, a volcano formed by the gradual accumulation of thick, slowly flowing icy materials, has prominent bright streaks on its flanks.”