NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has conveyed new views of the dwarf planet Ceres, revealing sharp details of the object’s fissured surface.

An image of a crater chain called Gerber Catena on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. 

Taking a vantage point in Ceres’ southern hemisphere (on December 10), Dawn—an ion-propelled exploratory craft—snapped photos from an approximate orbit altitude of 240 miles, its lowest-ever orbital distance to date, and where it will remain indefinitely.

An image of the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft at a low-altitude orbit of 240 miles. 

The Dawn mission, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, is the first to explore a dwarf planet, as well as the first to orbit two solar system objects outside the Earth-moon system. Dawn had previously visited the protoplanet Vesta for 14 months in 2011-2012, before arriving at Ceres—located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, as is Vesta—in March of 2015.