Ceres is the only dwarf planet in the inner part of our solar system. To locate Ceres you have to search between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. In 1801 the dwarf planet was named after Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture and is pronounced as series. NASA has been following Ceres with their spacecraft named Dawn. The probe, Dawn, was launched in 2007. She was sent to the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars to study and observe the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.

Dawn is on the move

According to Space.com, Dawn has been out in space for 11 years now, orbiting around both Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt that lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Dawn's mission was to maneuver around and examine both Vesta and Ceres during its mission, according to NASA. Dawn is equipped with an ion drive which allows her to move around, at NASA's whim, when she is done observing a planet or other masses of matter. Dawn has been incredibly successful. So much, in fact, she is in her second extended phase. NASA has spent roughly $466 million on her thus far with her missions covering Vesta and Ceres.

As reported by Space.com, NASA has spent an enormous amount of time carefully calculating Ceres's orbit and finding the best orbiting pathway that will allow Dawn to float as close as possible to Ceres without smashing into her. The scientists have worked so hard on her navigation that they went through 45,000 potential variations of her movements before they found the perfect one.

NASA needed to calculate this to such a close degree to get the best high-resolution pictures of the planet for the theories their scientists have formulated.

Ceres our precious dwarf planet

Ceres has a beautiful crater on her that has NASA incredibly fascinated. According to Space.com, her crater is called Occator. It is in a unique place and has bright white spots.

These bright white spots are salt deposits and by studying these salt spots the scientists can uncover an incredible amount of information about Ceres's complex geology. According to NASA's website, while Dawn is orbiting around Ceres, she will also be collecting neutron spectra and gamma ray. These collections will further help the scientists at NASA understand the chemical makeup of the surface of Ceres.

According to NASA, this is the closest Dawn has gotten to Ceres. Dawn was able to get 22 miles away from the planet's surface, which was closer than they predicted earlier this year. According to the NASA's website, their earlier prediction was less than 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the surface. Granted it was less than 30 miles, but I do not think they were expecting to get that close. I am sure NASA is bustling around like honeybees in a hive examing all of Dawn's pictures that she has taken this week.