Jun 11, 2015 I Paul Seaburn

Dawn Takes Ceres Photos But NASA Releases Cartoon Instead

The Dawn spacecraft now orbiting Ceres has taken some dramatic and stunning photographs of the surface of the dwarf planet. Those unprecedented images include pictures of mysterious bright lights that are so puzzling, NASA set up a web site to ask for help identifying them. So why has it suddenly stopped releasing photographs and instead put out an animated video of Ceres? An animated video it admits is enhanced? Has Dawn found something NASA doesn’t want us to see?


The video was released on June 8th by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab which manages the Dawn mission. The black-and-white animation is based on images and information from Dawn's first mapping orbit at an altitude of 8,400 miles (13,600 km) and from a second observation at an altitude of 3,200 miles (5,100 km). Eighty 2-D images were used to create the 3-D animation and the video was enhanced, according to the JPL website.

The vertical dimension is exaggerated by a factor of two in the video, and a star field has been added in the background.

Not to mention the unnecessarily dramatic music. The very brief pass over the mysterious lights has no zoom and no special attention is given to them. There was nothing on the mysterious lines or on the UFO seen near the lights. If it’s worth setting up a website just for the lights, isn’t it worth dropping down for a closer look ... even if it’s just animation?

Dawn has been in its current mapping orbit at 2,700 miles (4,400 km) since June 3rd. We’ve seen no photographs from this orbit. Did NASA throw together this animation to distract us from asking questions about the lights? Did Dawn find something new that has caused NASA to delay or even suppress the next set of images from release?

Is it working on a new website to ask us to “Guess what this is?” again? I’m not a rocket scientist … that’s their job. Where are the new images? Where are the close-up photographs of the mysterious lights?

What do you think of the Ceres animation – dramatic or deceptive? Is NASA hiding something from us about Ceres?

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Is NASA hiding something about these mysterious lights?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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