Scientists were baffled when they were first spotted in 2004 and as NASA’s Dawn spacecraft probe draws nearer to the dwarf planet, the Ceres Lights mystery grows deeper. The photo above shows the striking similarity between the Ceres Lights and earthly lights photographed from space (Las Vegas in the example above). Chris Russell, principal investigator for the unmanned Dawn mission at the University of California, Los Angeles, agreed that the origin of the lights has scientists scratching their heads:
“The bright spots in this configuration make Ceres unique from anything we’ve seen before in the solar system.”
Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. As of June 6, 2015, Dawn is now within 2,700 miles above Ceres’ surface and is set to descend to 900 miles above the dwarf planet in August. Although NASA scientists remain baffled, possible explanations include volcano, geyser, rock, ice, or even salt.