Published On: Thu, Mar 9th, 2017
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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft have reveals the brightest area in the centre of Occator Crater

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Scientists analysing data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft have revealed that the bright area in the centre of Occator Crater on Ceres is approximately 30 million years younger than the crater in which it lies.
Scientists, who studied Occator Crater’s central dome in detail, said that this intriguing bright feature, known as Cerealia Facula, on the dwarf planet is only about 4 million years old – quite recent in terms of geological history.
The new study supports earlier interpretations from the Dawn team that this reflective material – comprising the brightest area on all of Ceres – is made of carbonate salts, although it did not confirm a particular type of carbonate previously identified.
The research, led by researchers Andreas Nathues at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Gottingen, Germany, analyzed data from two instruments on board NASA’s Dawn spacecraft: the framing camera, and the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer.
Scientists believe the initial trigger was the impact that dug out the crater itself, causing briny liquid to rise closer to the surface.
The researchers also noted that the secondary, smaller bright areas of Occator, called Vinalia Faculae, are comprised of a mixture of carbonates and dark material.
Scientists believe the initial trigger was the impact that dug out the crater itself, causing briny liquid to rise closer to the surface.
As per NASA, new evidence also suggests that Occator’s bright dome likely rose in a process that took place over a long period of time, rather than forming in a single event.

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