US space agency NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has moved more close to one of its target, called the dwarf planet Ceres, in the extraterrestrial worlds.
The spacecraft was launched by the American space agency in the year 2007 for conducting a close-range study of two massive objects found in the asteroid belt, namely Vesta and Ceres.
The dwarf planet, which has an average diameter of 950 km, lies in the main belt of asteroid between Mars and Jupiter.
The spacecraft is gradually moving towards the dwarf planet and the scientists are also getting more close to their probe of the mystery-shrouded world with each step.
The latest images of Ceres are the sharpest and neatest ever sent by the Dawn spacecraft. The images of the dwarf planet have the resolution of 8.5 miles per pixel.
The latest photographs were clicked by Dawn on February 4 when the spacecraft was at a proximity of 90,000 miles from the dwarf planet.
“After looking through telescopes for over 200 years at Ceres, there is no doubt that exploring this exotic, alien world would be a really exciting journey,” Dawn mission director Marc Rayman said.
According to the scientists, the dwarf planet contains ice in very large amount of ice. But, there are many others who believe the surface of the planet conceals an ocean.
So far, NASA’s advanced Hubble Space Telescope had only captured the outstanding images of Ceres between 2003 and 2004. But the latest pictures having nearly 80 percent of Hubble resolution are captured by Dawn.
Dawn has already sent more than 30,000 images of the two giant bodies in the asteroid belt and as it proceeds further the images will keep on improving.
The spacecraft’s arrival at the surface of Ceres will mark the first ever landing of a spacecraft on any dwarf planet.