TECH

NASA Unveils Alien World Of Ceres In Stunning Detail

13/01/2016 17:45 GMT | Updated 13/01/2016 17:59 GMT

NASA has released new images of Ceres, showing the dwarf planet in exquisite detail.

The latest pictures were taken while the space agency's Dawn spacecraft, was flying at its lowest orbit yet - 240 miles above Ceres.

kupalo crate

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows Kupalo Crater, one of the youngest craters on Ceres. The crater has bright material exposed on its rim and walls, which could be salts. Its flat floor likely formed from impact melt and debris.

As always, the flurry of snaps seems to have given NASA more food for thought.

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The fresh views shows the Kupalo Crater having a bright material on its rim and walls which, scientists are yet to confirm as salts.

In December, a study published in Nature described how the bright spots on one of Ceres' other craters, Occator, could be explained by salt formation.

"When we set sail for Ceres upon completing our Vesta exploration, we expected to be surprised by what we found on our next stop. Ceres did not disappoint," said Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission.

"Everywhere we look in these new low- altitude observations, we see amazing landforms that speak to the unique character of this most amazing world."

CERES