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Take a breathtaking flight over dwarf planet Ceres

by Brandon Russell | January 29, 2016January 29, 2016 11:40 am PDT

You’ll never visit dwarf planet Ceres, located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but a new video will let you see see what it’s like to fly over its rugged terrain. Sure doesn’t look like any place I’d like to visit.

Based on images snapped by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, the video takes viewers on a simulated flight over the dwarf planet’s surface, visiting some of its most prominent craters, such as Occator and Ahuna Mons, the latter of which is a tall, conical mountain. We also get a look at Dantu and Yalode.

According to NASA, the big features on Ceres have been named for earthly agricultural spirits, deities and festivals.

“The movie shows Ceres in enhanced color, which helps to highlight subtle differences in the appearance of surface materials,” NASA explained. “Scientists believe areas with shades of blue contain younger, fresher material including flows, pits and cracks.”

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is the agency’s first mission to Ceres, so the dwarf planet is still largely a mystery to scientists. Last summer, an enormous pyramid stumped researchers, while the dwarf planet’s bright spots are still a complete mystery.

Speaking of the planet’s bright spots, NASA says it’s going to get a much closer look over the next few months, but until then, you can cast your vote for what you think is causing them at the link right here.

NASA JPL

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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