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The dwarf planet Ceres is a minor planet orbiting the Sun in an orbit between that of Mars and Jupiter. Ceres is about 950km across (over 500 miles), has a year length of 4.6 earth years and a day length of about 9 hours. The gravity is around 2%-5% of that of Earth, which is handy because it means you can leap about 20ft up in the air, not that there is very much "air" on the surface.




http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Ceres_Orbit.svg - orbit of Ceres

The planet Ceres has previously been underutilised from a science fiction perspective. Whereas Mars has quite an evocative set of ideas about it and is popular in the genre, Ceres has been almost unheard of.

Update 2011/08: There is now a spacecraft on its way to Ceres. It is the Dawn Spacecraft, and after exploring Pallas, it will continue on to explore Ceres. This should be fun!

Photo of the planet Ceres by NASA, who have generously declared it to be non-copyright. Picture acquired from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres_(dwarf_planet)