Our understanding of the early solar system development is still incomplete, but studying objects in the main asteroid belt can help fill in the gaps. Several missions have studied objects from the main asteroid belt with this goal in mind. One particularly interesting object is the dwarf planet Ceres, which was visited in 2015 by the Dawn mission. Prior to this mission, Ceres was thought to be a typical asteroid, but the mission revealed Ceres to be a complex, water-rich body with evidence of extensive subsurface activities. Many features were found across Ceres, including bright spots which have high albedo and fracturing in and around large craters. One example is Azacca crater, which contains each of these features and has extremely high-resolution data available, but has not yet been extensively studied. For these reasons, as well as the evidence of subsurface activities, we chose to focus on the Azacca region for this project.
We have completed crater counts down to 800+ m diameters for the Azacca region, as well as high resolution counts down to 150+ m within the crater walls. These crater maps reveal that the Azacca region is unevenly cratered. We then performed statistical analysis on the crater size distributions to provide an initial understanding of the crater densities and were able to confirm the previously-marked types of terrain with this information. We also inspected each of the following features in the Azacca region—the central peak, Azacca’s floor, the bright spots, the linear features, the pit chains, and the mass wasting features where material has previously collapsed along Azacca’s wall. With this information, we now have a better understanding of how these processes and features may overlap with each other, rather than focusing on the features individually. Our in-depth analysis of the Azacca region helps us understand the subsurface and surface processes across Ceres.
Schang, Kayla E.
"Geomorphology and Crater Identification for the Azacca Crater Region on Ceres,"
Macalester Journal of Physics and Astronomy: Vol. 9
, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/mjpa/vol9/iss1/9