NASA's Dawn spacecraft delivers new images of Ceres 'dwarf plane - WDRB 41 Louisville News

NASA's Dawn spacecraft delivers new images of Ceres 'dwarf planet'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- NASA has released new images of the dwarf planet Ceres, taken by the space agency's Dawn spacecraft, according to a news release.

They are the first in a series of images that will be taken for navigation purposes during the approach to Ceres.

Over the next several weeks, NASA says, Dawn will deliver additional images, each arriving with increasing clarity as the spacecraft is captured in the dwarf planet's orbit on March 6. The images are expected to continue to improve as the spacecraft spirals closer to the surface during its 16-month study of the dwarf planet.

"We know so much about the solar system and yet so little about dwarf planet Ceres," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission director, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "Now, Dawn is ready to change that."

Ceres is the largest body in the main asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter. It has an average diameter of 590 miles (950 kilometers), and is thought to contain a large amount of ice. Some scientists think it's possible that the surface conceals an ocean.

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