A new video produced by NASA shows a detailed animation of some of the most dramatic features on the dwarf planet Ceres.
The data used to create this video was beamed back to Earth by the Dawn spacecraft, which is currently exploring the small world, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn is the first human-made probe to visit Ceres.
The colors of Ceres’ craters seen in the video aren’t exactly the colors you might see when flying above the dwarf planet yourself. Scientists use these kinds of enhanced color views to bring out the differences in surface features on the world, NASA said.
“The simulated overflight shows the wide range of crater shapes that we have encountered on Ceres,” Ralf Jaumann, a Dawn mission scientist said in a statement. “The viewer can observe the sheer walls of the crater Occator, and also Dantu and Yalode, where the craters are a lot flatter.”
Dawn collected the data used for this animation when the craft was orbiting Ceres about 900 miles from the world’s surface from August to October 2015. Today, however, Dawn is in a much lower orbit, circling the world from an altitude of about 240 miles.
Dawn arrived at Ceres in March 2015 after spending a bit more than a year exploring the protoplanet Vesta, another relatively large object in the astroid belt from 2011 to 2012.