Monday, April 13, 2015

April 23rd??!

According to this page about the Dawn mission and Ceres,

"Ceres' surface is heavily cratered, as expected, but appears to have fewer large craters than scientists anticipated. It also has a pair of very bright neighboring spots in its northern hemisphere. More detail will emerge after the spacecraft begins its first intensive science phase on April 23, from a distance of 8,400 miles (13,500 kilometers) from the surface, said Martin Hoffmann, investigator on the Dawn framing camera team, based at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany."

So the mission will START its first science phase on April 23, which as I write this is still 9 days away -- and it may be days after that before it gets a clear image of the bright spots.  So this is what we know to this point:

The bright spots are bright spots.  And there are two of them.

We need more than that, soon.

There's a good map of what it saw on the approach phase here (in false color).

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