Is it just me, or do NASA’s recent pictures of the dwarf planet Ceres look like something you would see in the background of a 1980’s arcade game? You almost expect one of those spaceships from Galaga to come scrolling down your screen. The resolution of the Dawn space probe’s camera leaves so much to be desired that it almost begs the question “Can’t we get better cameras into space?” The pictures have so far returned some grainy low resolution grey images of a round objects. This is not the type of professional photography that you may be accustomed to from NASA. Having only been launched as recently as 2007, Dawn could have definitely been outfitted with better functioning optics.
NASA’s Close-up Pictures Of Ceres Leave Much To Be Desired
Right now Dawn is snapping pictures at a great distance from the orbit of Ceres. It will still take almost 2 more months before the probe reaches its planned orbital distance from the dwarf planet. This probe becomes the first of its kind to ever photograph a dwarf planet up close. Pluto will later be photographed up close by the New Horizons space craft later on this year.
As Dawn gets closer and closer, the details in its photos are expected to improve. The photos returned from the orbit of Mars proved to be a much higher level of detail than what we are getting so far of Ceres. Once in its final orbital distance, the entire surface of the tiny planet could be photographed in detail far exceeding what Hubble has been able to achieve of the planet’s surface so far.
Dawn will eventually be stationed in permanent orbit around Ceres, since it is not capable of making a return trip to Earth. By relaying all of the information it gathers via radio waves, there is really no need for us to retrieve it. During its planned long-term orbit it may help us gather a lot more information about our solar system from afar.
NASA’s Close-up Pictures Of Ceres Leave Much To Be Desired.