Recently in the Dawn Mission Category

NASA JPL Briefing: Dawn Ceres Arrival

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory hosted a Pre- Close Approach News Briefing on March 2 to discuss the March 6 arrival of the agency's Dawn spacecraft to the dwarf planet Ceres. The news briefing was held at JPL's von Karman Auditorium in Pasadena, California.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres on Jan. 25, and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the first human-made probe to visit a dwarf planet.

A Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series talk, held December 4 and 5 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, addressed the ambitious and exciting mission of the Dawn spacecraft, one of NASA's most remarkable ventures into the solar system.

Deep in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter, far from Earth, far from the sun, far now even from the giant protoplanet Vesta that it orbited for 14 months, Dawn flies with its sights set on dwarf planet Ceres.

Traveling from one alien world to another, Dawn is reliably powering its way through the main asteroid belt with its ion propulsion system.

Dawn Reveals Vesta

NASA Dawn mission researchers undertaking the first global analysis of the giant asteroid Vesta have looked back at the history of our solar system and found evidence of surprisingly recent collisions that left large impact basins.

Dawn Journal March 29, 2012

Vesta is spending the 205th anniversary of its discovery by treating Dawn to more spectacular vistas When Heinrich Wilhelm Matthaeus Olbers first spotted Vesta, he could hardly have imagined that the power of the noble human spirit for adventure and the insatiable hunger for knowledge would propel a ship from Earth to that mysterious point of light among the stars. And yet today our spacecraft is conducting a detailed and richly rewarding exploration of the world that Olbers found.

Towards the bottom of this Dawn FC (framing camera) image, slightly offset from the image center, is a small, young, fresh crater within a rectangular, older, heavily eroded crater. When the rectangular crater formed it was probably more circular in shape and then became more rectangular due to erosion and slumping of material.

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows numerous linear chains and clusters of small craters. These chains and clusters of craters were created by material that was ejected during the formation of a larger crater, which is located far outside of this image.

This 3-D image, called an anaglyph, shows the topography of Vesta's eastern hemisphere. To create this anaglyph, two differently colored images are superimposed with an offset to create depth. When viewed through red-blue glasses this anaglyph shows a 3-D view of Vesta's surface.

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows Caparronia crater, after which Caparronia quadrangle is named. Caparronia crater has an unusually shaped, irregular rim that is sharp and fresh in some areas and more rounded and degraded in others.

This Dawn image shows heavily cratered terrain in Vesta's equatorial region. The craters have a wide range of sizes and have many different forms, which include fresh, degraded and some that are barely visible because they are so degraded.