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NASA Dawn, What will it discover about Ceres?

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posted on Mar, 17 2015 @ 05:33 PM
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originally posted by: All Seeing Eye
a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

This by far is the most revealing image to date. Thank you for posting.



It now appears that the second "Light" is not a light, but a reflection off of the inner crater wall, right side.


Or, the lit spot around bright patch could be a slightly higher area that is higher than the crater floor, and high enough to be in sunlight. This could be some sort of cryovolcano or something similar (see my next post below)




posted on Mar, 17 2015 @ 05:33 PM
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The is a new article in the science journal "Nature" that has some new speculation about the spot.

Based on the images that show the bright spot still visible as the crater heads towards the dark side of the dwarf planet, some researchers think it could be ice actively "bubbling up" and reaching certain heights that are still in sunlight as the crater floor is in darkness.

As I mentioned in a post above, in that final image in which you can still see the bright spot (in the series of images taken as the crater contating the bright spot turns towards the dark side) the crater rim was still in sunlight whil the crater floor is relatively dark, so it's possible that the ice or cryovolcano or whatever is reaching up to a point near the height of the crater rim.

Bright spots on Ceres could be active ice


New images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft show the spots, known as ‘feature number 5’, at changing angles as the asteroid rotates in and out of sunlight. The pictures reveal the spots even when they are near the edge of Ceres, when the sides of the impact crater would normally block the view of anything confined to the bottom. The fact that something is visible at all suggests that the feature must rise relatively high above the surface.

“What is amazing is that you can see the feature while the rim is still in the line of sight,” said Andreas Nathues, a planetary scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, Germany. Nathues, who leads the team for one of the Dawn cameras, showed the images on 17 March at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

At dawn on Ceres, feature number 5 appears bright. By dusk, it seems to fade. That could mean sunlight plays an important role — for instance, by heating up ice just beneath the surface and causing it blast off in some kind of plume or other feature.



posted on Mar, 17 2015 @ 05:47 PM
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originally posted by: Ross 54
An elevation in the terrain at the location of the bright spot was looked for, but was not found . NASA was satisfied with their ability to make this determination, to the extent that it caused them to essentially eliminate the possibility of a mound- creating cryovolcano as an explanation for the bright spot.

But that's not true. They have not yet done a detailed enough elevation mapping to determine that this is not possible something sort of cryovolcano or similar sort of plume-producing or material-spewing phenomenon.

Refer to my post above in which researchers (based on those most recent photos of the crater containing the bright spot rotating toward the night side of Ceres) are considering the possibility of this being an feature that is actively pushing ice or some other material to the surface, and pushing it higher than the crater rim (the rim that is lit in that last photo prior to the crater rotating completely to the night side).



posted on Mar, 17 2015 @ 08:17 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

Again, the central floor of the crater is dark, on the left of the light, and right of the light. If there were a structure coming up from the center of the crater, one would expect to see its shadow to the right. I don't seem to see one.


Refer to my post above in which researchers (based on those most recent photos of the crater containing the bright spot rotating toward the night side of Ceres) are considering the possibility of this being an feature that is actively pushing ice or some other material to the surface, and pushing it higher than the crater rim (the rim that is lit in that last photo prior to the crater rotating completely to the night side).
Again, where is the shadow of this structure? For that theory to be valid, it must be higher than the left inner wall to catch sunlight. Where is its shadow?




posted on Mar, 17 2015 @ 09:48 PM
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There are a number of articles published on March 2nd, and since, that report the information shared at a NASA press conference on that date. Several reasons were given by NASA for why it is unlikely that the bright spot is a cryovolcano. I provide a link to one of the better of these articles, below.

It's very heartening to read that the problem of the bright spot in the dark is being taken seriously by as prestigious journal like Nature. Thank you for sharing that information.
As long as a geological explanation is sought, it seems obvious that something elevated well above the floor of the crater would have to be advocated, even if the evidence for this is lacking.
'Ice bubbling up' is a little vague, but seems to refer to something very like a cryovocano, as does the idea of a plume of icy vapor triggered by the warming influence of the Sun.
It's very interesting to observe NASA advocating for ice on the floor of the crater, and Nature holding out for an elevated, eruptive phenomenon, when both explanations are apparently inadequate. It appears that both organizations are attempting to fit a new and unknown phenomenon into one or another known category.
www.universetoday.com...
edit on 17-3-2015 by Ross 54 because: added link address

edit on 17-3-2015 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure



posted on Mar, 18 2015 @ 06:33 AM
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This guy thinks this is first planet we visited since 1989...sigh.

Arizona Daily Star


Planetary scientists are very interested in exploration of Ceres. What do you say to convince the general public that it’s an interesting place?

Sykes: “I like to say, with Ceres, that this is our first exploration of a dwarf planet and they are the most common type of planet in our solar system, if not the universe. It’s also the first time since 1989, when Voyager 2 flew by Neptune, that we’ve gone by a planet.


I guess Saturn is not a Planet?



posted on Mar, 18 2015 @ 07:47 AM
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a reply to: Xeven

Or Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter -- all of which have been visited since 1989.

I wonder if the author of that story got that quote wrong (missed some words or something).


edit on 3/18/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2015 @ 08:34 AM
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originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People
a reply to: Xeven

Or Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter -- all of which have been visited since 1989.

I wonder if the author of that story got that quote wrong (missed some words or something).

I'm guessing he means "First time we've visited a planet for the first time since 1989." I.E. other probes have been sent to planets that Voyager etc. already saw back in the '70s and '80s, but Dawn is visiting a body no other probe has approached.
edit on 18-3-2015 by AshOnMyTomatoes because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2015 @ 11:06 AM
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a reply to: AshOnMyTomatoes

That oddly makes sense -- "It's the first time since 1989 that we visited a world for the first time"...although the author either didn't understand that point enough to clearly write it that way, or he is just a poor writer.

I also suppose he (or maybe Mr. Sykes) is limiting that "visit for the first time" tag only to planets and dwarf planets, because we visited the asteroid Vesta for the first time a few years ago (Dawn's previous target), the asteroid Eros in 2001, and a couple of comets over the years.


edit on 3/18/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 11:04 AM
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a reply to: Ross 54

One thing that all of the Ceres researches agree on is that they don't (yet) have enough data to make any firm conclusions about what the bright spot is or isn't. I say "yet" because hopefully that will change once Ceres begins it's primary data-gathering mission

Scientists are fully aware that what they THINK they know about Ceres is based on the very limited information they have on the dwarf planet, and what they thought was not possible before (such as cryovolcanoes or water volcanoes) may in fact be possible.

the 46th annual Lunar and Planetary Conference just started this week (week of March 16), and the organizers of the conference humorously titled a session on Ceres: " "Your last chance to talk about Ceres before Dawn data wreck your theories". Who says scientists have no sense of humor?

Here is a list of papers presented at that session on Ceres:
Ceres and Dawn: Your Last Chance to Talk About Ceres Before Dawn Data Wreck Your Theories


Linked below is a story from the BBC about new theories of the bright spots being bandied about this past week at the Lunar and Planetary Conference:

Ceres: Possible plume hints at active world


But there's something even more interesting that team members have noticed about the brightest of the spots, known for the time being simply as Feature 5.

"The question is whether Ceres has an active surface or not," said Dr Nathues, the camera team leader from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. "Interestingly, this feature is located in a crater of 80km diameter... you can see that feature when the rim is very likely in front of the line of sight." The implication is that Dawn might have seen a plume of water vapour emanating from Feature 5.

But Dr Nathues added: "We need high-resolution data to confirm this." The feature evolves and brightens during the day, but dims towards dusk, eventually disappearing completely.

Furthermore, colour spectral measurements of Feature 5 are consistent with an icy surface. And an increase in brightness during the daytime under one of the instrument's filters is suggestive of some emission from the spot.

"There are two regions that are likely active [on Ceres]," said Dr Nathues, stressing that more work was needed to confirm the theories.


So it seems everyone is stressing the same message: The current and past hypotheses concerning Ceres are all based on limited data and knowledge, and thus can be incorrect. The additional data and knowledge gained by this mission, once the primary data gathering and primary scientific mission begin, will probably change those hypotheses.


edit on 3/20/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 11:39 AM
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One of the assertions heard from the Lunar and Planetary Conference is as follows: The bright spot is seen when the crater is edge-on, or so near this that the floor of the crater is blocked from view. So, the reasoning runs, the bright spot must be a ice plume rising above the crater, that can catch the setting Sun. This assertion is highly questionable.

As long as the bright spot is in view, the elongation of its crater, due to the viewing angle, is similar to that of lunar craters in which the floor of the craters can be seen.
The need to demonstrate that the bright spot is caused by an elevated source of reflection is presumably felt because of the problem--how can surface ice reflect light from a dark crater floor?
The question of how a thin vapor plume, of the sort that might occur on Ceres, could have a reflective efficiency of at least 40 percent, the figure given by NASA, appears not to have been considered.
None of these considerations seems to be based on a lack of evidence, but upon an effort to assign a genuinely unknown phenomenon to an already known category.



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 12:22 PM
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originally posted by: Ross 54
The question of how a thin vapor plume, of the sort that might occur on Ceres, could have a reflective efficiency of at least 40 percent, the figure given by NASA, appears not to have been considered.


They don't know if the 40% albedo is correct or not. They don't have enough data on the size of the bright spot yet. Dawn principal investigator Chris Russell, a professor of geophysics and space physics at UCLA, mentioned that in an article last week:

Studying Dwarf Planet Ceres: Q&A with Dawn Scientist Chris Russell


it's reflecting the sunlight. It's consistent with reflecting all of the light if the spot is small enough. Now, we don't know what size it is, so we can't tell if the albedo is 40 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent or 100 percent, but it's probably in that range someplace. One thing that's very good in the solar system at reflecting sunlight is ice. For example, [Saturn's moon] Enceladus has an albedo of about 100 percent.





originally posted by: Ross 54
So, the reasoning runs, the bright spot must be a ice plume rising above the crater, that can catch the setting Sun. This assertion is highly questionable.

They aren't saying anything that it "must" be. That's my point; they don't have enough data to say that it can or can't be a plume of material. As Dr. Russell mentioned in the article above, they don't know the albedo because the don't know the size. Right now, they are only saying "implications are..." or "some data suggests...".

They don't know enough to say "must" yet -- which was the whole point of titling that session at the conference: "Your last chance to talk about Ceres before Dawn data wreck your theories". It was an humorous title, but there was also truth in that title.

As Dr. Nathues indicated at the Lunar and Planetary Conference, they don't know if it is in front of/above the rim of the crater because they don't yet have high-resolution images and other close-up data, but the already known (incomplete) data suggests some hypotheses, but they still don't know if it can or can't be a plume, because they need to wait until the spacecraft does its primary data collecting -- which it hasn't:

...said Dr Nathues, the camera team leader from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. "Interestingly, this feature is located in a crater of 80km diameter... you can see that feature when the rim is very likely in front of the line of sight." The implication is that Dawn might have seen a plume of water vapour emanating from Feature 5.

But Dr Nathues added: "We need high-resolution data to confirm this." The feature evolves and brightens during the day, but dims towards dusk, eventually disappearing completely.

Furthermore, colour spectral measurements of Feature 5 are consistent with an icy surface. And an increase in brightness during the daytime under one of the instrument's filters is suggestive of some emission from the spot.

The bottom line is that they cannot say for certain if the spot is ice, or plumes, or mineral salt deposits, or cryovolcanoes, or icy water bubbling up, or even an artificially-constructed reflective building -- but they also cannot yet say for certain that it is NOT those things until more data is returned.


edit on 3/20/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 01:38 PM
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None of these considerations seems to be based on a lack of evidence, but upon an effort to assign a genuinely unknown phenomenon to an already known category.


It seems "this" phenomenon you speak of is practiced throughout the scientific community, regardless of the subject. If you cant fit the unknown into the known, you either ignore it, or you discard it.

Its far too easy to just go along with the status quo, the heard mentality. Does this mentality truly "Reflect" the spirit of mankind? It takes great courage to stand and declare the unknown.

What is the real fear involved? Loss of ego? Loss of a firm grip on reality? Maybe, just maybe ego can be dealt with, but what of reality? You build a new paradigm, as I had to do.

If you are in the "business" of discovery, no matter what field, and you are frightened of the possible discoveries you might make, then maybe its time you look for a new trade, or get over your fear. Ross54, this is not directed at you personally or anyone in particular.

We have all seen the pictures and said out peace. I believe I personally have seen enough to make a preliminary conclusion. And regardless of what others might creatively come up with, until I see the dark side image, I wont be swayed.

Given the facts.
The light seems larger further away, but smaller closer up.
The light emanates from a dark crater floor.
Meteors dig holes.
Absence of a shadow of any structure that could stand tall enough to reflect light.
A object that appears to the right of the light that roughly looks like the impact meteor, that is reflecting the light of the central light.

We are only left with two possible conclusions, and they are.
1. It is a reflection of unknown origin
2. It is a light source, of unknown origin.

That is it. There are no other options.

Certainly, theories of both categories must be explored, if your being honest.

NASA has already seen the dark side images, I'm certain.

So, what is the next date for public release??



posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 02:02 PM
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I wish that they'd post a Facebook update on their page just saying "After all, we are not alone..."



posted on Apr, 28 2015 @ 12:40 PM
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NASA invites the public speculation on what the lights could be. So go ahead and VOTE!!!! Ice which is what I voted for, currently has the lead, but its followed closely by "other."
edit on 28pm30pm5091 by data5091 because: (no reason given)

edit on 28pm30pm5091 by data5091 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 09:32 AM
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I've been watching this poll since Monday. The two consistent favorites, 'Ice' and 'Other' are now statistically tied at 32 and 31 %, respectively. A poll of any reasonable size has a margin of error of at least three points.
This poll shows us that about a third of those interested enough to give an opinion entertain doubts about any of the usual scientific explanations for the bright spots, including the most favored one, ice.



posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: Ross 54
Definitely. The bottom line is we just don't know.....yet.



posted on Apr, 29 2015 @ 10:12 AM
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I am going with a mining operation, as crazy at that sounds and all the potential Pandora's box that implication would have to bring out if it turned out to be a mining operation, i.e. who, what, where from, etc. I read some stuff on the bright spots including one on an astrophysicist that did not believe a mineral or metal would reflect sunlight that brightly as far out as Ceres is. BTW, is Ceres in the planet category now or is it like Pluto and just a 'proto-planet' at this stage in the game?

Anyway, I for one am keeping an interest in what they find the answer to be. If it turned out to be a mining operation, I don't care who's, I predict the DAWN Spacecraft will suffer an anomalous fuel line rupture and go dead and we will hear no more about it. Kind of like the $Billion dollar Phobos probe we built after Russia lost Phobos I & II Probes in the final moments when swinging around the moon Phobos. I mean, come on, a $Billion dollar probe and they use a NAPA off the shelf fuel line /sarcasm that has an anomalous failure the moment we kick up the electronics and start warming up the crafts surveillance package?

You know the saying, where there is smoke there is usually fire? Well, NASA has been having out of control fires all over the place and can't seem to figure out how to build a probe or spacecraft without using that dad blamed ACME Rocket Fuel Line that keeps failing. Isn't it about time they came up with a new excuse at least. Something good like the 'Nuclear Thermal Heater Package' malfunctioned and the craft froze in deep space. At least then we would have something to chew on for a while.

But a fuel line? Damn! We haven't been able to keep a fuel line going in these multimillion or even billion dollar spacecraft to work correctly on go time. OK, I know we crashed more junk on Mars than we landed there, but it was never given to be a fuel line rupture! Nope, me thinks there is a chipmunk in the works on these probes somewhere typing in the wrong commands when they radio control codes to him/her when it is time to go and, well you know how Bill Gates bug prone software is for anyone that spent years in IT. Of course, one Mars Lander crash was blamed on some poor engineer that put in meters instead of feet and well, it didn't work to well slowing down the craft before impact. Probably the reason for going back to monkeys, at least they can see the ground coming in at speed and hit the brakes for a grape! As for the engineer, I hear he is fixing lawn tractors at Cape Canaveral for a few decades.


Ooops! I hope I didn't release any classified information here. You know how the government feels about that. There was a guy, Gary McKinnon, that found a list of Non-Terrestrial Officers on one of the NASA servers. They were the ranks of the monkeys that operated the new braking system though! Oh, another piece of classified information.



edit on 29/4/15 by spirit_horse because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 10:23 AM
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In the JPL public poll of the explanation for the bright spots on Ceres, 'Other' is now the favorite. It currently leads 'Ice' by 6 percentage points; 36 to 30. This appears to be a trend, as 'Other' has increased gradually from 28 % on Monday, while the support for 'ice' has melted, over the same period.



posted on May, 2 2015 @ 03:01 AM
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a reply to: Ross 54
Science by majority vote?



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