NASA's Dawn spacecraft took this picture on its way to a new orbit, at an altitude of about 30,000 miles (48,300 kilometers), as part of a series of images intended to help the navigation of the spacecraft relative to Ceres. The image was taken on March 28, 2017.
Several familiar features can be identified: At the top, we see Occator Crater and its faculae (bright deposits identified as a mixture of sodium carbonate and other salts). Below center is the crater Urvara, and to the right of it, the larger crater Yalode (the third and second largest craters on Ceres, respectively). Large-scale faults called Samhain Catenae stretch from the Occator region toward the Yalode-Urvara region.
This map can be used to locate these and more features.
The spacecraft will settle into a new orbit that will allow it to observe Ceres in opposition at the end of April 2017, when Dawn is directly between the sun and the Occator bright spots, at an altitude of about 12,400 miles (20,000 kilometers). The Dawn Journal has more details about the science expected from these observations.Dawn's mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK, Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team. For a complete list of mission participants, see http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission.
For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.