A mysterious pyramid three miles high has been discovered on the surface of Ceres by astronomers using the Dawn spacecraft. Stranger still, the mound is not part of a mountain range but stands alone on the icy dwarf planet.

Dawn previously found strange bright spots on the body, which left NASA officials questioning the nature of the unusual formations.

Some commentators have stated their belief that the bright areas on Ceres are evidence that aliens set up a base on the dwarf planet. The discovery of a lone pyramid on the surface is likely to fuel additional speculation that extraterrestrial beings have visited our Solar System, although NASA officials generally prefer a more natural explanation, such as salt or ice.

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter, and this body is the dwarf planet closest to the Earth. As astronomers learn more about Ceres as Dawn continues its study of the body, they are learning more about the geological processes that helped to form the dwarf planet.

"Dawn has been studying the dwarf planet in detail from its second mapping orbit, which is 2,700 miles (4,400 km) above Ceres. A new view of its intriguing bright spots, located in a crater about 55 miles (90 km) across, shows even more small spots in the crater than were previously visible," the Dawn spacecraft team stated on their website.

Investigators at NASA currently believe the strange bright regions on Ceres are contained within a crater, although they are still uncertain how they formed.

"Ceres also has numerous craters of varying sizes, many of which have central peaks. There is ample evidence of past activity on the surface, including flows, landslides and collapsed structures. It seems that Ceres shows more remnants of activity than the protoplanet Vesta, which Dawn studied intensively for 14 months in 2011 and 2012," NASA mission engineers reported.

The steep-sided mountain is roughly about as tall as Mount Blanc on the border of France and Italy, the highest peak in the Alps. This alien feature is taller than Mount Fairweather in Alaska, the seventh-highest mountain in the United States.

In December 2015, the orbiter will be just 225 miles above the surface of Ceres, lower then the altitude at which the International Space Station (ISS) orbits above the Earth. At that time, astronomers hope they will be able to learn more about the unusual bright spot and the strange lone pyramid on Ceres. The spacecraft will begin moving to a lower orbit of 900 miles on June 30, arriving at that altitude early in August.

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