Bright spots are discovered on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, according to scientist, these bright spots may be volcanoes of ice. The volcanoes of ice seemed to be spouting hot water vapors off into the space.
These images are sent by NASA spacecraft’s Dawn, it is a space probe launched in 2007. Its mission is to study two protoplanets of the asteroid belt Vesta and Ceres. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies. It is currently orbiting its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres. It has traveled 3.1 billion miles.
Scientist are waiting when Dawn emerges from Ceres’ dark side and deliver ever-sharper images as it moves to lower orbits around the planet.
At the lunar and planetary science conference held outside of Houston, the theory that there is a possible volcano in Ceres was presented.
11 years ago, Hubble telescope caught images of water ice on Ceres. Last year Herschel space observatory also found the evidence of water vapor in Ceres.
The images show the spots at changing angles as the asteroid rotates and it is amazing to see the spots visible even when the craters rim would block the spacecraft view of the crater floor. That implies that whatever is reflecting is above the craters surface scientists said at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
Andreas Nathues, lead researcher for Dawn’s framing camera said “We believe we could be seeing outgassing, but we need higher resolution (images) to confirm this,”
At dawn the spots appear bright and by dusk they fade, that could mean sunlight plays an important role by heating up ice beneath the surface and causing it blast off in plumes.
Scientist believes that interior of Ceres is rocky and wet, with a layer of water or ice. With such low density, Ceres has a potential for ice volcanoes or ice may be sublimating or transitioning from solid t gas, as it happens on comets.
“The big question is whether Ceres has an active surface region — or more than one,” he said.