NASA has just released a new image of the bright spots on Ceres and they look more mysterious than ever. And we aren’t any closer to figuring them out.
First spotted from a distance of 51,000 miles, scientists and laymen alike hypothesized that as Dawn would get closer, the mysterious light specks would reveal their true nature.
Now, the space craft is twenty times closer to the dwarf planet, orbiting it at a distance of 2,700 miles.
The scientists assigned to the Dawn mission are still puzzled by these two spots and their unexplained characteristics. They could be caused by ice or salt, as Dawn principal investigator Chris Russel points out:
“The science team is working to understand their source. Reflection from ice is the leading candidate in my mind, but the team continues to consider alternate possibilities, such as salt.”
As expected, the ice or salt explanation does not please everyone. Author and UFO investigator Scott Waring revealed there are a lot of hidden details in the photos released by NASA and that by adjusting the image properties, we too can see them.
Waring and others suggested the lights might be caused by alien structures covered in highly-reflective material. If this is true, it means we know way less about our own cosmic neighborhood than we thought.
Both NASA scientists and alien theorists alike agree that Ceres is unique in the solar system. Up to now, no similar phenomenon has been observed on any other planet, dwarf or not.
Luckily, the Dawn space probe is set to perform orbital mapping for the next year or so, which means we’ll get a closer look at these luminous teasers and probably figure them out. Until then, all explanations are welcome.