Short Ceres video available

Aloha – There is an interesting video available (just over two months) that gives you a tour with 3-D imagery of Ceres.  Enjoy at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dwarf-planet-ceres-comes-to-life-in-new-3d-video_55c4e01ee4b0d9b743dbf3d9

Meanwhile, if you were on Demeter, I would think the light is associated with passages from the interior providing light to the surface.  But that is a hundred light years away :o)

Doc

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Pyramids on Ceres?

Cameras on the tractor-trailer-size spacecraft captured a pyramid-shaped structure rising three miles above Ceres' cratered surface. NASA scientists are calling it 'intriguing.' (Source: NASA/CNN)

Ceres continues to intrigue as the Space Probe Dawn draws nearer to the dwarf planet.  Another unexpected landmark has emerged as the clarity of photographs increases.  Scientists are referring to the dimple at the bottom of the picture a three-mile high pyramid like object.  Geologically it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  If Ceres had a volcanic core that was active in the last few eons we could go with a very large volcano, comparable in size to Mt Fuji (well actually this would be about 3,000 feet taller than that.  Considering that its roots aren’t buried in the ocean, that is a big momma.

Of course for those of us who love science fiction it provides yet another opportunity for speculation.  Could it be a massive pyramid built by an ancient civilization that emigrated to Earth where their planet lost its atmosphere due to global warming?  How about a beacon for interstellar travel?  Your only limitation is your own imagination on what it “could be”.

Doc

Night Lights of Ceres

Dawn Probe Gets Closest Look Yet at Ceres' Bright Spots

Aloha – This has been a point of curiosity for months now, the reflective? lights of Ceres.  These are new and improved looks at the region via the Dawn space probe that is now orbiting Ceres.

Is it ice reflecting from the Sun over two AUs away, or could it be a huge shopping center?  Rumor has it that Donald Trump has already claimed that it is his latest, greatest casino and is now taking reservations.  This may explain why he regularly goes bankrupt.

It could be a signal light requesting rescue from a long lost Cosmonaut.

The crater does vaguely resemble a nest, so another possibility is that it is the home of the Roc, who apparently is related to crows, in putting bright shiny objects in it’s nest.

The Dawn Mission is in the early stages of the scientific investigation of Ceres so we may learn more, or it may remain a mystery to encourage young (and old) sci fi writers to speculate.

Doc

Ceres – That’s a little better

NASA Probe Sees North Pole of Dwarf Planet Ceres (Video)

Aloha – That’s a little better.  We have been pretty much in the dark, since the Dawn probe began closing in on Ceres.  Actually, it looks surprisingly like how I describe Demeter in the Demeter series.  This is the first reasonable close up we’ve gotten, at 21,000 miles.

In the coming months better and better detail will be available as the Dawn probe begins its 14 month mission to Ceres, closing in to about 7,000 miles above the surface.

Doc

Which will have the better story? Pluto or Ceres?

Aloha – It is turning into a great year for NASA with deeper probes into the Solar System.  Two stories I’m following (and report on regularly in this blog) are the Dawn probe to Ceres (what are those flashing lights or reflections coming from the long deemed dwarf planet in the Asteroid Belt/) and the New Horizon’s probe that has spent nine years moving toward what used to be our furthest planet, Pluto.

Pluto is a common source of debate… is it a planet or a dwarf planet (oversized asteroid).  Either way, Pluto has five moons and Earth only has one; that should be worth something.

Unlike Ceres where the Dawn is working toward a closer and closer orbit, New Horizons doesn’t have fuel to accomplish such a close examination.  Instead it will do a near fly-by (closer than 8,000 miles) and Charon, the largest of Pluto’s moon, and then continue on deeper into the Kuiper Belt looking for additional insights into the formation of the Solar System.

Want to know more?  the rest of today’s story is at

http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-probe-nearing-close-encounter-unexplored-pluto-181601994.html

Best wishes,

Doc

Are we there yet? Yes!

new ceres

Aloha – Well the kids in the backseat can finally be told they have arrived.  Their cross-inner-system drive to their vacation destination took a mere eight years.  You might remind the kids of that next time you’re on a family vacation.  If the child had been five years old when you left, they’d he a hormone laiden thirteen year old teenager now.  Of course, the good news is that the vacation will last sixteen months.

The Dawn Space probe, launched in 2007 has arrived in orbit at the largest asteroid, or a fair-sized dwarf planet, Ceres.  Ceres lies in the Asteroid Belt, and has a lot of people excited about what might be there.  The lights or reflections have created lots of speculation including my own.  The promise of plenty of water has also been long speculated or hypothesized depending our your scientific demeanor.

Well we’re here now.  We can go parasailing, water sliding, and anything else your heart can imagine.  Stay tuned as the vacation begins.

Doc

Ceres Business

Mystery Spot on Dwarf Planet Ceres Has Mysterious Partner (Photos)

Aloha – Dawn has arrived, well almost arrived for its 16 month orbit of Ceres (largest asteroid or mini-planet) that is located in our Asteroid Belt.  This photo is taken at 29,000 miles.  The primary interest in this mission is whether or not Ceres does in fact contact more fresh water than Earth.  Considering it’s size I find that notion challenging but interesting.  Of late however, the focus has been on the lights coming from Ceres.  Hypotheses on what the light is has ranged from the probable (reflection of frozen water on the surface of Ceres to the extreme, peoples of Ceres signalling our approaching space probe.  As interesting as the latter idea is it does stretch my imagination to take that idea in.  If we continue to explore however, I would anticipate that such an event will eventually occur, but I personally don’t expect it to occur in our Solar System.  On the other hand, I’m becoming less convinced that we won’t find some form of life on other rocks in our Solar System be it Ceres, Titan or Europa.  Doc.