'Pancake' Feature on Ceres

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Some might see a pancake, and others a sand dollar, in this new image from NASA's Dawn mission. Astronomers are puzzling over a mysterious large circular feature located south of the equator and slightly to the right of center in this view. This basin, nearly 186 miles (300 kilometers) across, is not as deep as would be expected for an impact crater, and appears to contain low-relief mounds.

This image was taken on Feb. 19, 2015 from a distance of nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers) from Ceres.

Dawn's mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, 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. The University of California, Los Angeles, 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 acknowledgments, visit: http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

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