NASA has released a new series of images taken by the Dawn spacecraft, currently in orbit around Ceres, that depict a strange, pyramid-shaped mountain rising from the planetoid’s otherwise barren surface.
Ceres lies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, as Wired reports, and the Dawn spacecraft is currently engaged in a mapping orbit of the dwarf planet. Though Ceres sparked the interest of many scientists when large, reflective bright spots were detected on its surface, the arrival of Dawn has revealed another unusual feature: a three-mile-high mountain which resembles nothing quite so much as a pyramid.
The most recent image of the structure was taken by Dawn on June 14, according to CNN, from a distance of 2,700 miles above Ceres. While NASA described the pyramid-like edifice as “a mountain with steep slopes protruding from a relatively smooth area of the dwarf planet’s surface,” UFO watchers and alien enthusiasts have seized upon the images as proof that intelligent life might exist elsewhere in our Solar System.
So now there are not only mysterious spots of light on Ceres, but 5-mile tall pyramids as well. I keep telling you, aliens.
— Kalontas / Xarthat (@Xarthat) June 23, 2015
Scientists have yet to offer any definitive explanation for the pyramid’s origins, though subterranean volcanism has been advanced as a possible cause. The mountain is hardly alone as an object of interest on the face of Ceres, however, as Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator for the Dawn mission, noted.
“The surface of Ceres has revealed many interesting and unique features. For example, icy moons in the outer solar system have craters with central pits, but on Ceres central pits in large craters are much more common.”
— Ron Baalke (@RonBaalke) June 23, 2015
Raymond also observed that the geological features evident on Ceres will allow scientists to understand the inner structure of the planetoid in a way that would be impossible to directly detect. NASA has also noted the existence of even more bright spots on the surface of Ceres, and while scientists aren’t entirely sure what causes the reflective areas, they are currently believed to be deposits of ice or salt.
— Discover Magazine (@DiscoverMag) June 24, 2015
Earlier this week, UFO watchers were startled to find a pyramid-shaped rock in images relayed from the surface of Mars, as the Inquisitr previously reported. While some suggested that the object could represent the capstone of a larger, buried structure, others noted that the rock was likely a naturally-occurring phenomenon, much like the “pyramid” protruding from the surface of Ceres.
[Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA via Wired]