Dwarf planet Ceres gets weirder and weirder as Dawn spacecraft draws near to its surface. After a couple of mysterious white lights on top of one of its craters, there seems to be a pyramid-shaped structure or landform above its equator.
While UFO enthusiasts worked themselves into a frenzy after NASA released a close-up of the odd feature last week, skeptics claim that the feature is no real than the face on Mars. NASA also declined to comment on the picture.
The photo was captured June 6 from a 2,700-mile distance above the dwarf planet’s surface by NASA’s Dawn orbiter. Clearer images beamed back by the spacecraft had shown that the planet is dotted by more mysterious bright spots.
Scientists currently speculate that the spots were generated by highly reflective salt deposits or ice sheets, volcanic activity, or water steams from beneath the surface. The subterranean alien base theory was not one of the options but they do consider more options.
But they now wait for Dawn to get even closer to Ceres in order to use its infrared mapping spectrometer to tell what types of minerals may reflect light, and unlock the mystery behind the dwarf planet’s bright spots.
But now there’s another mystery to solve – a great pyramid. According to Dawn’s data, the pyramid-shaped structure is roughly 11 mile-wide and 3.9-mile-high. The landform, however, looks more like a cone with a circular base than a pyramid but you should tell that to UFO conspirationists.
So, the pyramid is located on a surprisingly flat plain, while the planet’s surface is marked by craters, ancient lava flows, and landslides. And a 3.9 mile (6,300 meter) height is a lot more than any pyramid. The world’s largest pyramid the Great Pyramid of Khufu is just 455 feet (139 meters) high.
Until June 30, Dawn is slated to keep orbiting the planet at about 2,700 miles above surface. But in July, the spacecraft should plunge into another orbit (High Altitude Mapping Orbit, or HAMO) and reach an altitude of 900 miles by August 6, where it would gather more data until October 15 when it would continue its descent to a 143 mile altitude dubbed Low Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO).
Dawn should reach LAMO on December 8, and continue to orbit Ceres from that point on until mission’s end.
After it had completed its mission, Dawn is expected to turn into the planet’s first artificial satellite, though some scientists proposed the space craft should instead try a flyby of the asteroid 2 Pallas, which is very unlikely due to the asteroid’s steep orbit.
Image Source: Inquisitr