NASA's Dawn spacecraft sends back close-ups of dwarf planet Ceres' surface

Launched in 2007 with an ion engine, Dawn is nearing the end of its voyage soon.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft is sending back incredible close-ups of the dwarf planet Ceres.

The spacecraft has been circling Ceres since 2015. In June, it reached its lowest orbit yet, skimming the surface from just 35 kilometers up.

The latest pictures released on Monday offer unprecedented views of a huge impact crater known for its bright salty deposits. Landslides are clearly visible on the rim.

NASAs Dawn spacecraft sends back close-ups of dwarf planet Ceres surface

This image showing landslides along Occator Crater's rim was obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from an altitude of about 35 kilometres. AP

Chief engineer Marc Rayman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, says the results are better than hoped.

Before arriving at Ceres, Dawn explored the asteroid Vesta. Both are in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Launched in 2007 with an ion engine, Dawn is nearing the end of its extended mission. NASA expects the spacecraft to last just another few months.

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