It has been traveling for over ten years, and after spending the last couple months in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, the Dawn spacecraft is gearing up for another move - one that might finally help solve the puzzle of those weird bright spots on Ceres’s surface right now.
Back in 2015, the probe locked in orbit around Ceres, ready to dive in and explore new information about this unusual mini-world.
Some of its oddities include its high feature in the shape of a pyramid, and of course those bright spots - one of which has turned into many, but scientists still aren't really sure what they are. The most likely theory is that there bits of ice reflecting lots of sunlight, but they could also be salt deposits, volcanoes, or geysers.
There has been so much fascination about these spots on Ceres that NASA has actually launched an online poll where anybody, including you, can vote for what you think is the most likely explanation. So is it a huge pile of glitter, an oil slick, an alien beacon, maybe just shiny rock? Click here to cast your own vote, and while you're up to it, share your best guess in the comments below.
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Source: This story was originally published on SciShow Space. I am republishing a lightly edited version on SkyFeed in light of interest in the subject. Reimers, Reid. "Bright Spots On Ceres And Volcanoes On Venus." SciShow Space, YouTube. 25 June 2015. Web video.
Citation: Rovira, Lia N. "These Bright Spots On Ceres Are Puzzling Astronomers." SkyFeed. 18 July 2018. Web article.