NASA’s Dawn mission to Ceres has released colorful new maps of the dwarf planet, showcasing a diverse topography, with height differences between crater bottoms and mountain peaks as great as 9 miles.
These craters are pretty similar in depth and diameter to the craters found on Saturn’s icy satellites, Dione and Tethys, so these findings are kind of a big deal.
And now, these mysterious craters have names.
Some of the newly named features include Occator, the mysterious crater containing Ceres’ brightest spots, which has a diameter of about 60 miles and a depth of about 2 miles and Haulani, a smaller crater with bright material, previously labeled “Spot 1.”
Temperature data from Dawn’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer show that Haulani seems to be colder than most of the territory around it, however the craters are all pretty consistent with ice-rich crusts.
The International Astronomical Union approved a total of 18 names that you can check out, along with their size, origin, etc.
Dawn is now making its way to its third mapping orbit, but still no confirmation on the mysterious bright spots on Ceres.
They could be anything from geysers, volcanoes, rocks, ice or salt deposits, or who knows what. Want to take bets on it? Nasa has opened a poll to the public. My vote goes to ice. What’s your vote?