Scientists think they have a clue as to what’s causing the bright spots in craters on the dwarf planet Ceres.
The Ceres File
What: The Dawn Mission orbits the dwarf planet Ceres, which travels between Mars and Jupiter.
What’s the Big Deal? A huge field of rubble exists between Mars and Jupiter. Is Ceres just another lost object? Is it a moon belonging to a destroyed planet? Should it earn status as a planet? And what are the bright spots in two of its craters?
Probably liquid forming a local atmospheric haze: Christopher Russell, the Dawn project’s principal investigator believes the spots may be the result of gasses or liquids escaping from holes in the crater. He explained the latest theory during a NASA Exploration Forum explaining the spots could be the result of “possibly subliming, or they’re providing some atmosphere in this particular region of Ceres”.
Russell noted how the haze does not extend beyond the crater’s rim and appears to be localized. The Occator crater, a 57-mile wide impact zone, has caused quite a stir among scientists, space fans and conspiracy theorists. Of course, many conspiracy theorists are calling the white spots evidence of an alien base.
But, conspiracy theorists think something sinister is afoot: Here’s an example of extraterrestrial theorists attempting their own explanation of the spots.