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

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.

Checking out dwarf planet Ceres

vesta ceres

Aloha – In my continuing interest on developments on the space probe approaching dwarf planet Ceres, I thought y’all might me interested in comparative size.  Considering the amount of water expected to be found on Ceres it is surprisingly small.  We are getting better pictures of Ceres every day now as NASA’s Dawn space craft draws nearer.  Check out the photos at

http://www.vox.com/2015/2/18/8061451/ceres-dawn

Meanwhile, returning to the fictional alter-ego of Ceres, Demeter.  Ryder’s first observations of the asteroid reads as follows:

Demeter looked like a small planet.  Although Ryder knew from their studies, that it only had a diameter about half the size of the Earth’ moon.  So, it would be better to think of it as a large asteroid.  It was basically round, although it looked slightly stretched like a very flat egg.  The surface was heavily potmarked.  In fact, there seemed to be craters inside craters and then more craters.  It was very uninviting increasing Ryder’s foreboding and concerns.

Debbie had wangled her way into the cockpit with the flight crew, who had remained noticeably absent throughout the flight.  Debbie and, surprisingly, Rebecca had shown a keen interest in the cockpit, and had both spent hour after hour with the flight crew.  Ryder now heard Debbie’s voice over the intercom.  “Everybody, its time to buckle up.  We’re going to change speeds several times over the next few minutes as we prepare to land.”

The good news was that with Debbie gone, Ryder had a chance to talk with Cynthia more and more.  Ryder remembered Cynthia’s response, when he had asked her about their adventure.  “So, what do you think?”

“I’m excited.  I think this is going to be even more interesting than a year in Europe.  I want to investigate their medical advances.  I’ve always planned to go to medical school.  Imagine what this could mean if they’re as advanced as Miss Li says they are.”

Ryder had thought about that several times since.  Cynthia being excited about being on Demeter tended to reduce his anxiety.  A year with Cynthia anywhere sounded exciting wherever they were.  But Cynthia knew exactly what she wanted, and what she hoped to get out of the experience.  Even Debbie seemed to know what she wanted, even if it did change every ten minutes.  But what did he want to get out of the experience?

As they approached the planet, things seemed to get bumpy.  They sure were bouncing a lot.  Ryder something had gone wrong with the ship when he heard Debbie’s voice over the intercom, “But, I’m doing fine.  I think I can finish bringing her in.”  Then a fatherly voice firmly stating, “I’m sure you can, but I need the practice myself to keep my certification.”

Things got a lot smoother after that, as they approached an area, that appeared manmade, perhaps a gate.  Ryder saw the ‘gate’ start to slide open, but then lost the view as they drew closer and closer.  The doorbell sounded again, “It sure is getting obnoxious every time they want to make an announcement,” Ryder thought, “I’m glad I’m getting off this thing.”  The pilot, Jonas White, advised everyone to make sure all their valuables were stowed properly, as they were about to make another shape shift to a condensed form that allowed entry into the locks.  The interior started making minor modifications, and Ryder quickly noticed that all the windows were disappearing as the seats were shifting into an interior facing oval.  The last thing Ryder saw before the windows disappeared was a tunnel.  It looked like a mine shaft with metallic, rather than wooden girding, but mostly rock.  “Great!  A year inside a mine shaft he thought, despondently.

Lights from the two largest cities on Ceres spotted from space?

NASA Probe Snaps Stunning New Views of Dwarf Planet Ceres (Video)

Aloha – 90,000 miles and closing.  Right now the probe that is studying Ceres is closer than the Earth to the Moon by 3x.  I have seen clearer pictures than this one, but this is one of the latest.  From the perspective of Demeter, I could argue that the lights might be from the surface bases surrounding Demeter, but there aren’t enough lights.  I admit that lights from underground cities showing up like the cities of Earth may be far fetched, but wouldn’t that be something to discover cities on Ceres of all places.  I would assume bubble cities if they did exist.  Most likely, it is glacial patches of ice that have formed providing the reflections that we are seeing, but that is still unknown.  We should know at least a little more over the next few days and weeks.  For the most recent news check out the following link

http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-probe-snaps-stunning-views-dwarf-planet-ceres-165706502.html

Best wishes,

Doc

Pellucidar meets Ceres meets Demeter

Aloha – More news from Ceres brings back a flood of memories.  I’ve mentioned At the Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs before.  It came back to mind yet again with theories popping up about ice volcanoes and sub-surface water on the asteroid, Ceres.  Burroughs pulp fiction novel (originally a magazine serial) was published in 1914.  As was the case with all of Burroughs many novels, it is a slick adventure story told in episodes (fit for magazine segments).  I was fascinated by the concept of a juggernaut type vehicle that drilled into the Earth.  In fact, I used the concept to entertain another high school student through a very boring class for weeks on end.

Burroughs’ iron mole goes out of control and takes the crew 500 miles below the surface of the planet to a world within a world, Pellucidar.  Much like the John Carter of Mars series, this one is all action and honor.  I would hardly categorize it as great literature, more of a fun ride especially for a young teenager.

Now the worlds of Ceres, Demeter, and Pellucidar can almost be merged into the latest exploration and upcoming arrival of Dawn near Ceres in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, do I recommend the Pellucidar series to you for reading.  If you want a politically incorrect, sexist, adventure story, it’s okay.  I have first editions at home.  I actually think you’ll enjoy the Demeter series better, but then again I wrote that one.  I don’t recommend the Doug McClure movie rendition.

Best wishes,

Doc