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Please Enjoy Your Flight Over Dwarf Planet Ceres
If you were riding aboard NASA’s Dawn spacecraft as it orbits dwarf planet Ceres, you would see something like the softly cratered world in the video above. Released today, the animation used 80 images from Dawn to construct a 3-D representation of Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt. A background starfield has been added and vertical relief is exaggerated by a factor of two. In other words, the flat-bottomed craters on Ceres’ surface are even smoother than they appear here — a characteristic that could be caused by a layer of buried water ice, perhaps the frozen remnant of a former underground ocean.
“The Dawn team is investigating what the landforms imply about the presence and nature of any water reservoirs