Cool images! Dawn’s newest images have revealed that the brightest spot on Ceres, shown on the right in a cropped version of the full image, has a dimmer companion.
“Ceres’ bright spot can now be seen to have a companion of lesser brightness, but apparently in the same basin. This may be pointing to a volcano-like origin of the spots, but we will have to wait for better resolution before we can make such geologic interpretations,” said Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission, based at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The spots are still too small for Dawn’s camera to resolve. That they are inside what looks like a crater is very puzzling. If they are water-ice, why are they so bright and distinct? One one think the ice would pile up along the crater wall, but then, that’s what we think based on our experience here on Earth with wind, rain, and our heavy gravity. Ceres is cold, has no atmosphere, and a tiny gravitational field. Every geological process will proceed in a different manner.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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