As per the latest reports, the bright spots found on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres indicate about the possibility of geological activity occurring on it. Ceres is a very dark planet, but in many areas, mysterious dark spots were found, which indicate about an actively evolving world or alien world. NASA informed that since its entry into the orbits of Ceres in 2015, the Dawn spacecraft has spotted around 300 bright spots on the dwarf planet’s surface which means that Ceres is not an entirely dead planet.

Two years ago, Dawn space probe sent first images of 2 distinct reflect areas on Ceres which baffled the scientists. And now, they have found out hundreds of bright spots like this on Ceres’ surface which suggests that it could still be experiencing geological activity. “The mysterious bright spots on Ceres, which have captivated both the Dawn science team and the public, reveal evidence of Ceres’ past subsurface ocean and indicate that, far from being a dead world, Ceres is surprisingly active. Geological processes created these bright areas and may still be changing the face of Ceres today,” informed Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator of the Dawn mission, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The latest findings were presented by Raymond and his team at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union on December 12.

The new study led by Nathan Stein, a doctoral researcher at Caltech in Pasadena, California, divided Ceres’ bright spot features into four categories. The first group of bright spots found on crater floors consisted of the most reflective material on Ceres. The best example is the Occator Crater, which is the home to two prominent bright areas. One is the Cerealia Faculae, and the other is the Vinalia Faculae. The Cerealia Faculae is present at the center of the crater containing a bright material covering a 6-mile wide crater. It is considered as the brightest area of Ceres. Vinalia Faculae, situated to the east of the center, is a collection of slightly less reflective and more diffuse features. The second group of the bright spot is more common, and the reflective material is collected along the rims of crater streaking down toward the floors. The third category of bright material is ejected from the formation of craters. And, the fourth and the last bright spot category goes to the mountain Ahuna Mons.

As per NASA, this Ahuna Mons bright spot is the only reflective material that is not connected with an impact crater. Scientists believe that these bright materials get mixed with the dark material most of the Ceres’ surfaces are formed contain this mixture. This further indicates that billions of years ago, Ceres had thousands of bright spots on its surface. “Previous research has shown that the bright material is made of salts, and we think subsurface fluid activity transported it to the surface to form some of the bright spots,” informed Stein. The latest study will surely help scientists get more information about Ceres and the origins of its mysterious bright spots.

Micky James
Micky, one of the associate writers at The News Recorder has been taking care of all the space related coverage. He loves to write about the latest happenings in space, and before joining The News Recoder, James was a part of the editorial board of a local magazine.

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