The spacecraft Dawn was launched from Cape Canaveral way back in 2007. First this year, seven and a half years later the dwarf planet Ceres has been reached, 4.9 billion kilometers from Earth.
There it has since early March rotated around the planet to examine its structure and gather information. The data will provide a better understanding of how the planets were formed.
Ceres has many similarities with our own moon and is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Ceres was discovered in 1801. It was first classified as a planet, but later the status changed, first to an asteroid, and it is now classified as dwarf planet.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a new detailed render of Ceres:
"A new video animation of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, provides dramatic flyover views of this heavily cratered, mysterious world.
The images come from Dawn's first mapping orbit at Ceres, at an altitude of 8,400 mile (13,600 kilometers), as well as navigational images taken from 3,200 miles (5,100 kilometers) away.
The images provided information for a three-dimensional terrain model. The vertical dimension has been exaggerated by a factor of two, and a star field has been added in the background."
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