NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captured pictures in visible and infrared wavelengths, which were combined to create this false-color view of a region in 57-mile-wide (92-kilometer-wide) Occator Crater on the dwarf planet Ceres (in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter). Here, recently exposed brine, or salty liquids, in the center of the crater were pushed up from a deep reservoir below Ceres’ crust. In this view, they appear reddish.
Seen here is Cerealia Facula (“facula” means bright area), a 9-mile-wide (15-kilometer-wide) region with a composition dominated by salts. The central dome, Cerealia Tholus, is about 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) across at its base and 1,100 feet (340 meters) tall. The dome is inside a central depression about 3,000 feet (900 meters) deep.
Dawn’s mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate’s Discovery Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. JPL is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Northrop Grumman in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and ...