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The Dwarf Planet Ceres

In March of 2015, NASA’s Dawn mission will arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres, the first of the smaller class of planets to be discovered and the closest to Earth. Ceres, which orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is a unique body in the Solar System, bearing many similarities to Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, both considered to be potential sources for harboring life.
And Ceres might be a game changer in the Solar System…

The Dwarf Planet Ceres

Image Caption and Credit: Ceres’ round shape indicates that it formed early in the life of the solar system. Ceres lies in the center. Clockwise from the lower left: 2 Pallas, 4 Vesta, 243 Ida, 433 Eros, 25143 Itokawa, 951 Gaspra, 5535 Annefrank. Credit: Composite image of NASA mission and HST images: Schmidt, Britney Elyce, Characterizing the protoplanets : observations and geophysics of Pallas, Vesta and Ceres, PhD Dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, June 2010.

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