NASA’s Dawn probe signaled its arrival at Ceres orbit and will study the dwarf planet for over a year. The dwarf planet is the largest object between Mars and Jupiter in the Solar System.
Ceres will be studied to reveal details of Solar System’s beginning’s four and a half billion years ago. The probe finally reached the “dark side” of the object after a journey of 7.5 years. More research will be conducted in April, once the controllers reshape the orbit over the next month. The U.S agency aims to lower the orbit with a few kilometers away from the surface.
“We are now on station with ample reserves, and a robust plan to obtain our science objectives,” said Chris Russell, the mission’s investigation from University of California.
The probe will also send high-resolution pictures once it reaches close to the planet. The team hopes to create detailed maps of the planet and investigate the mystery of two bright spots. Asteroid Vesta the first trip of Dawn and remains in the same rocky belt that circles the Sun. Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator at Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated that both the objects were like fossils of the Solar System.
Vesta has a diameter of 525km while Ceres is bigger at 950kms. The agency stated that they believed the two objects were proto-planets as they were like planetary embryos that merged to form terrestrial planets. The research was conducted on Ceres and Vesta as they stopped before they reached the evolutionary stage.
According to researchers, Ceres interiors consist of a rocky core with ice and rocky lag on the top. Another objective of the mission is to find whether there is liquid below the surface. The dwarf planet was also speculated to have been hit by something that revealed the ice.
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