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Keyword: ceres

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  • Ceres’ “Pyramid” Gets a Closer Look, But Bright Spots Remain a Mystery

    08/26/2015 4:43:21 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    Universe Today ^ | August 26, 2015 | Nancy Atkinson
    The Dawn spacecraft is now orbiting just 1,470 kilometers (915 miles) above Ceres’ surface, and the science team released these latest images. Above is a closest view yet of the so-called ‘pyramid’ on Ceres, although the closer Dawn gets, the less this feature looks like a pyramid. It’s actually more like a conical mountain with a flat top, almost like a butte. ... The mountain is located in the southern hemisphere, and stands 6 kilometers (4 miles) high. Visible on the sides of the mountain are narrow braided fractures and an intriguing bright area. Only time will tell if this...
  • The 4-mile-tall pyramid mountain on dwarf planet Ceres is glowing

    08/08/2015 3:22:46 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 55 replies
    In its latest video, posted Thursday, NASA shows us that in addition to the intriguing bright spots in a large crater on Ceres, there are also bright streaks running down the sides of a pyramid-shaped mountain rising higher than Alaska's 20,000-foot (6,100 meter) Mt. McKinley. ... And then there's that conical, almost pyramid-looking mountain that rises 4 miles high and is oddly dark on one side while the other side glows with bright streaks that seem similar in their effect to what's causing the other bright spots. "What does this structure tell us about how this world works?" Rayman says....
  • What's That Spot On World Ceres?

    07/31/2015 8:51:48 AM PDT · by JimSEA · 21 replies
    JPL ^ | Unknown | NASA
    What's the spot on World Ceres? Can you guess what's creating those unusual bright spots on Ceres? On March 6, NASA's Dawn spacecraft began orbiting Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even before the spacecraft arrived at the dwarf planet, images revealed mysterious bright spots that captivated scientists and observers alike. Until Dawn gets a closer look over the next few months, it's anyone's guess what those spots could be. So, go ahead! Cast your vote below. - See more at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/dawn/world_ceres/#sthash.bwDwq56N.dpuf
  • Ceres Resembles Saturn’s Icy Moons

    07/28/2015 11:14:36 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on July 28, 2015 | Jason Major
    Ceres’ topography is revealed in full (but false) color in a new map created from elevation data gathered by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, now nearly five months in orbit around the dwarf planet orbiting the Sun within the main asteroid belt. With craters 3.7 miles (6 km) deep and mountains rising about the same distance from its surface, Ceres bears a resemblance to some of Saturn’s frozen moons. “The craters we find on Ceres, in terms of their depth and diameter, are very similar to what we see on Dione and Tethys, two icy satellites of Saturn that are about the...
  • Mysterious 'Haze' Seen Above Ceres' Weird Bright Spots

    07/21/2015 7:27:36 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 32 replies
    discovery.com ^ | Jul 21, 2015 06:13 PM ET // by | Ian O'Neill
    “At noontime, if you look at a glancing angle, you can see what seems to be haze,” said Christopher Russell, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dawn principal investigator. “It comes back in a regular pattern.” According to Russell, who was speaking at a NASA exploration meeting at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., the haze covers about half of the crater and reaches as far as the rim. So far, scientists have theorized that the bright spots could be concentrations of minerals or salts. Or they might be icy deposits; potentially evidence...
  • Is That a Big Crater on Pluto? Pyramidal Mountain Found on Ceres

    07/01/2015 5:53:46 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on June 30, 2015 | Bob King
    You’re probably as eager as I am for new images of Pluto and Ceres as both New Horizons and Dawn push ever closer to their respective little worlds. Recent photos, of which there are only a few, reveal some wild new features including what appears to a large crater on Pluto. In the end, this apparent large impact might only be a contrast effect or worse, an artifact of over-processing, but there’s no denying its strong resemblance to foreshortened, shadow-filled craters seen on the Moon and other moons. It’s also encouraging that an earlier photo from June 27 shows the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- An Unusual Mountain on Asteroid Ceres

    06/29/2015 9:49:58 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | June 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What created this large mountain on asteroid Ceres? No one is yet sure. As if in anticipation of today being Asteroid Day on Earth, the robotic spacecraft Dawn in orbit around Ceres took the best yet image of an unusually tall mountain on the Asteroid Belt's largest asteroid. Visible at the top of the featured image, the exceptional mountain rises about five kilometers up from an area that otherwise appears pretty level. The image was taken about two weeks ago from about 4,400 kilometers away. Although origin hypotheses for the mountain include volcanism, impacts, and plate tectonics, clear evidence...
  • Ceres Spots Continue to Mystify in Latest Dawn Images

    06/23/2015 6:34:16 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 17 replies
    NASA-JPL ^ | June 22, 2015 | Staff
    The closer we get to Ceres, the more intriguing the distant dwarf planet becomes. New images of Ceres from NASA's Dawn spacecraft provide more clues about its mysterious bright spots, and also reveal a pyramid-shaped peak towering over a relatively flat landscape. "The surface of Ceres has revealed many interesting and unique features. For example, icy moons in the outer solar system have craters with central pits, but on Ceres central pits in large craters are much more common. These and other features will allow us to understand the inner structure of Ceres that we cannot sense directly," said Carol...
  • Ceres Has Lots of Bright Spots

    06/17/2015 7:03:24 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    Most models of Ceres depict a rocky crust, mantle of ice and a rocky inner core. This makes us wonder if the bright material unearthed might be ice. If so, it would gradually vaporize on the virtually air-free dwarf planet. Dawn will spend through early 2016 at Ceres during its primary mission and then remain in orbit there perpetually. We should be able to cipher the composition of the white material during that time with the spacecraft’s Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector and Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, but a lengthy stay might allow us to see changes in the...
  • Ceres Bright Spots Keep Their Secret Even From 2,700 miles Up

    06/10/2015 8:10:52 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 45 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on June 10, 2015 | Bob King
    Naturally, when you try to capture details in something bright, your background will go dark. But that might be what’s needed here – a change in exposure to reveal more detail in the spots at the expense of the landscape. Doubtless NASA will release enlarged and detailed images of these enigmatic dots later this summer..... Scientists still don’t understand the nature of the spot cluster, but reflective ice or salt remain the strongest possibilities. “The bright spots in this configuration make Ceres unique from anything we’ve seen before in the solar system,” said Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fly Over Dwarf Planet Ceres

    06/10/2015 3:55:24 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | June 10, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to fly over dwarf planet Ceres? Animators from the German Aerospace Center recently took actual images and height data from NASA's robotic Dawn mission -- currently visiting Ceres -- to generate several fascinating virtual sequences. The featured video begins with a mock orbit around the 950-km wide space rock, with the crater featuring two of the enigmatic white spots soon rotating into view. The next sequences take the viewer around the Ceres' north and south poles, and then over a limb of the dark world highlighting its heavily cratered surface. Here, terrain height on...
  • Dawn Does Dramatic Fly Over of Ceres, Enters Lower Mapping Orbit: Video

    06/08/2015 11:22:44 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on June 8, 2015 | Ken Kremer
    Scientists leading NASA’s Dawn mission to dwarf planet Ceres have just released a brand new animated video showing a dramatic fly over of the heavily cratered world featuring its mysterious bright spots whose exact origin and nature remain elusive. Meanwhile, the venerable probe has just successfully entered its new and lower mapping orbit on June 3 from which researchers hope to glean hordes of new data to unravel the secrets of the bright spots and unlock the nature of Ceres origin and evolution. “Dawn completed the maneuvering to reach its second mapping orbit and stopped ion-thrusting on schedule. Since May...
  • Pluto a Planet Again? It May Happen This Year

    06/08/2015 10:44:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 26 replies
    The Crux, Discover 'blogs ^ | February 25, 2015 | David A. Weintraub, Vanderbilt University
    Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, and NASA's Dawn spacecraft will arrive there on March 6. Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, and NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will arrive there on July 15... The efforts of a very small clique of Pluto-haters within the International Astronomical Union (IAU) plutoed Pluto in 2006. Of the approximately 10,000 internationally registered members of the IAU in 2006, only 237 voted in favor of the resolution redefining Pluto as a "dwarf planet" while 157 voted against; the other 9,500 members were not present... Unlike the larger planets, however,...
  • Crisp New Detail Revealed in Stunning New Ceres Photo

    05/28/2015 5:30:38 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 51 replies
    discovery.com ^ | May 28, 2015 05:50 PM ET | Ian O'Neill
    NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is beginning to get up-close and personal with dwarf planet Ceres, as this latest image shows. In this photo, which was snapped by the orbiting spacecraft at an altitude of 3,200 miles (5,100 kilometers) on May 23, imaged the landscape at a resolution of 480 meters per pixel, revealing craters and craters of craters — the divots blasted out of the surface by the resulting impact debris. Of particular note are the apparent horizontal lines of craters or gullies that appear throughout the field of view.
  • Dwarf planet Ceres' bright spots shrink but stay strange on approach

    05/25/2015 1:34:35 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 46 replies
    cnet.com ^ | Erik Mack
    As Dawn descends toward its closest orbit around Ceres, it has been imaging the spots along the way, gradually giving us a less pixelated view of the large crater containing what now appear to be several bright spots reflecting the sun back at us. What once looked to be a large bright spot near the center of the dwarf planet soon split into two smaller, nearly adjacent spots upon closer inspection. In the latest view from Dawn, shot on May 16, those two large spots seem to be resolving into several smaller bright spots. The leading guess from NASA scientists...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Dwarf Planet, Bright Spot

    05/14/2015 3:45:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | May 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Now at Ceres, Dawn's camera recorded this closer view of the dwarf planet's northern hemisphere and one of its mysterious bright spots on May 4. A sunlit portrait of a small, dark world about 950 kilometers in diameter, the image is part of a planned sequence taken from the solar-powered spacecraft's 15-day long RC3 mapping orbit at a distance of 13,600 kilometers (8,400 miles). The animated sequence shows Ceres' rotation, its north pole at the top of the frame. Imaged by Hubble in 2004 and then by Dawn as it approached Ceres in 2015, the bright spot itself is...
  • Ceres Animation Shows Bright Spot

    05/11/2015 6:26:43 PM PDT · by lbryce · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | May 11, 2015 | Staff
    The mysterious bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are better resolved in a new sequence of images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on May 3 and 4, 2015. The images were taken from a distance of 8,400 miles (13,600 kilometers). In this closest-yet view, the brightest spots within a crater in the northern hemisphere are revealed to be composed of many smaller spots. However, their exact nature remains unknown. "Dawn scientists can now conclude that the intense brightness of these spots is due to the reflection of sunlight by highly reflective material on the surface, possibly ice," said...
  • Closest look yet at Ceres’ bright spots

    05/11/2015 10:25:52 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 19 replies
    earthsky.org ^ | May 11, 2015 | Staff
    Mysterious Spot 5 – the most prominent of Ceres’ bright spots – is shown in a new image from the orbiting Dawn spacecraft to consist of many smaller spots. Bright spots on Ceres are revealed to be composed of many smaller spots in this May, 2015 image from the Dawn spacecraft. Image via NASA Dawn mission. Alright! Now we’re getting somewhere. The Dawn spacecraft – which has now completed its first mapping orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres – acquired these closest-yet images of the mysterious bright spots on Ceres, known as Spot 5, on May 3 and 4, 2015....
  • Mystery of Ceres' bright spots grows

    04/13/2015 12:28:08 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    nature.com ^ | Alexandra Witze
    Not all of the puzzling bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are alike. The closest-yet images of the gleams, taken from 45,000 kilometres away, suggest that at least two of the spots look different from one another when seen in infrared wavelengths. The Hubble Space Telescope spied many of the bright spots from afar years ago, but the observations from NASA's Dawn spacecraft — which began looping around Ceres on 6 March — are the first at close range. The images were released on 13 April in Vienna, Austria, at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union. Scientists say...
  • Seeking Ceres: Following the Brave New World Through 2015

    03/31/2015 3:28:10 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    And the good news is, you can observe Ceres from your backyard if you know exactly where to look for it with binoculars or a small telescope. We’ll admit, we had an ulterior motive on pulling the trigger on this post three months prior to opposition on July 24th, as Dawn will soon be exiting its ‘shadow phase’ and start unveiling the world to us up close. The first science observations for Dawn begin in mid-April. Ceres spends all of 2015 looping through the constellations of Capricornus, Microscopium and Sagittarius. This places it low to the south for northern hemisphere...
  • What is flashing us from mysterious dwarf planet? Riddle of Ceres' deepens .. ANOTHER flashing mark

    02/27/2015 11:44:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 75 replies
    www.dailymail.co.uk ^ | 02-27-2015 | By Ellie Zolfagharifard
    Ceres continues to baffle astronomers as the Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the dwarf planet. The latest images, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000km) from Ceres, reveal that a bright 'alien' spot that stands out in previous images lies close to yet another bright area. While Nasa has not provided an explanation, scientists suggest these spots may be frozen pools of ice at the bottom of a crater that reflect light. 'Right now, all we can say is that the material reflects 40 per cent or more of the light falling on it,' UCLA astronomer Chris...
  • NASA scientists stumped by mystery 'alien lights' on dwarf planet Ceres

    02/26/2015 9:41:56 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 65 replies
    A mysterious dwarf planet has left scientists scratching their heads after a strange light was seen shining from it. The dwarf planet Ceres has stumped boffins at NASA after a spacecraft sent to investigate it took these stunning pictures. In the images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, a bright spot is seen projecting out from the darkness of the surface. A second bright light is seen close to the other one, leaving scientists completely baffled.
  • Planet you've probably never heard of

    02/21/2015 5:39:50 PM PST · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 61 replies
    cnn.com ^ | 8:56 PM ET, Fri February 20, 2015 | Amanda Barnett, CNN
    (CNN)Way out beyond Mars, but before you get to Jupiter, is a planet. You read that right. There's a planet between Mars and Jupiter. You may not have heard of it, but it was discovered in 1801 -- 129 years before Pluto. It originally was called a planet, then later an asteroid and now it's called a dwarf planeIts name is Ceres (pronounced like series) and you'll likely be hearing a lot more about it in the coming weeks.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Dark Craters and Bright Spots Revealed on Asteroid Ceres

    02/19/2015 5:22:59 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | February 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What are those bright spots on asteroid Ceres? As the robotic spacecraft Dawn approaches the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt, the puzzle only deepens. Sharper new images taken last week and released yesterday indicate, as expected, that most of the surface of dwarf planet Ceres is dark and heavily cratered like our Moon and the planet Mercury. The new images do not clearly indicate, however, the nature of comparatively bright spots -- although more of them are seen to exist. The enigmatic spots were first noticed on Texas-sized Ceres a few weeks ago during Dawn's approach. The intriguing...
  • Dawn Approaches: Two Faces of Ceres

    02/17/2015 5:09:59 PM PST · by cripplecreek · 9 replies
    http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov ^ | February 17, 2015 | NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
    February 17, 2015 Image Advisory—Craters and mysterious bright spots are beginning to pop out in the latest images of Ceres from NASA's Dawn spacecraft. These images, taken Feb. 12 at a distance of 52,000 miles (83,000 kilometers) from the dwarf planet, pose intriguing questions for the science team to explore as the spacecraft nears its destination. “As we slowly approach the stage, our eyes transfixed on Ceres and her planetary dance, we find she has beguiled us but left us none the wiser,” said Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission, based at UCLA. “We expected to be surprised;...
  • Closer view of Ceres shows multiple white spots

    02/06/2015 1:41:53 PM PST · by Red Badger · 14 replies
    phys.org ^ | 02-06-2015 | by Bob King, Universe Today
    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has acquired its latest and closest-yet snapshot of the mysterious dwarf planet world Ceres. These latest images, taken on Feb. 4, from a distance of about 90,000 miles (145,000 km) clearly show craters – including a couple with central peaks – and a clearer though still ambiguous view of that wild white spot that has so many of us scratching our heads as to its nature. Get ready to scratch some more. The mystery spot has plenty of company. Take a look at some still images I grabbed from the video which NASA made available today. In...
  • An Even Closer View of Ceres Shows Multiple White Spots Now

    02/05/2015 4:14:32 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 25 replies
    NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has acquired its latest and closest-yet snapshot of the mysterious dwarf planet world Ceres. These latest images, taken on Feb. 4, from a distance of about 90,000 miles (145,000 km) clearly show craters – including a couple with central peaks – and a clearer though still ambiguous view of that wild white spot that has so many of us scratching our heads as to its nature. Get ready to scratch some more. The mystery spot has plenty of company.
  • First Hubble and Now Dawn Have Seen This White Spot on Ceres. What is it?

    01/20/2015 3:23:34 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 36 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on January 20, 2015 | Nancy Atkinson
    One of the most anticipated aspects the Dawn spacecraft being in orbit around Ceres HAS to be finding out what this spot is. It could be ice, it could be a cryovolcano or geysers, or it could be something else. But we do know fairly certain that it is a real feature and not an image artifact, since it shows up in most of the recent Hubble images and now the Dawn images. Planetary scientists have long suspected that water ice may be buried under Cere’s crust. A few things point to subsurface ice: the density of Ceres is less...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Approaching Asteroid Ceres

    01/20/2015 5:55:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | January 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt -- what secrets does it hold? To find out, NASA has sent the robotic Dawn spacecraft to explore and map this cryptic 1,000-kilometer wide world: Ceres. Orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres is officially categorized as a dwarf planet but has never been imaged in detail. Featured here is a 20-frame video taken a week ago of Dawn's approach that now rivals even the best images of Ceres ever taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The video shows enough surface definition to discern its 9-hour rotation period. On target to...
  • Dawn Spacecraft Will Take Pictures Of Its Target Asteroid Today

    12/01/2014 8:55:31 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 7 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on December 1, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell
    And today (Dec. 1) comes a special day for Dawn — when it turns its cameras to Ceres to capture the asteroid, which will appear about nine pixels across. The reason? Besides scientific curiosity, it turns out to be a perfect calibration target, according to NASA. “One final calibration of the science camera is needed before arrival at Ceres,” wrote Marc Rayman, the mission director at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a recent blog post. “To accomplish it, the camera needs to take pictures of a target that appears just a few pixels across. The endless sky that surrounds our...
  • Radiation Blast Delays NASA Spacecraft’s Arrival At Dwarf Planet Ceres

    09/17/2014 2:17:55 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | September 17, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell on
    Controllers discovered Dawn was in safe mode Sept. 11 after radiation disabled its ion engine, which uses electrical fields to “push” the spacecraft along. The radiation stopped all engine thrusting activities. The thrusting resumed Monday (Sept. 15) after controllers identified and fixed the problem, but then they found another anomaly troubling the spacecraft. ... Dawn is en route to Ceres after orbiting the huge asteroid Vesta between July 2011 and September 2012. A similar suspected radiation blast three years ago also disabled Dawn’s engine before it reached Vesta, but the ion system worked perfectly in moving Dawn away from Vesta...
  • Ceres and Vesta Converge in the Sky on July 5: How to See It

    06/26/2014 7:28:57 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | June 26, 2014 | Bob King on
    In April, we reported that Ceres and Vesta, the largest and brightest asteroids respectively, were speeding through Virgo in tandem. Since then both have faded, but the best is yet to come. Converging closer by the day, on July 5, the two will make rare close pass of each other when they’ll be separated by just 10 minutes of arc or the thickness of a fat crescent moon. ... Both asteroids are still within range of ordinary 35mm and larger binoculars; Vesta is easy at magnitude +7 while Ceres still manages a respectable +8.3. From an outer suburban or rural...
  • Three New "Plutos"? Possible Dwarf Planets Found

    08/16/2011 12:47:34 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com ^ | Published August 11, 2011 | Rachel Kaufman
    Small objects could be rounded worlds, based on likely sizes, experts say. Three relatively bright space rocks recently found in Pluto's neighborhood may be new members of the dwarf planet family, astronomers say. The objects were discovered in a little studied section of the Kuiper belt, a region of the solar system that starts beyond the orbit of Neptune and extends 5.1 billion miles (8.2 billion kilometers) from the sun. Astronomer Scott Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, and colleagues found the bodies using the 1.3-meter Warsaw University Telescope at Las Campanas in Chile. The region of the Kuiper...
  • Trips to Mars in 39 Days?

    10/08/2009 3:02:57 AM PDT · by Dallas59 · 20 replies · 833+ views
    Universe Today ^ | 10/7/2009 | Nancy Atkinson
    Video of Engine Test Using traditional chemical rockets, a trip to Mars – at quickest — lasts 6 months. But a new rocket tested successfully last week could potentially cut down travel time to the Red Planet to just 39 days. The Ad Astra Rocket Company tested a plasma rocket called the VASIMR VX-200 engine, which ran at 201 kilowatts in a vacuum chamber, passing the 200-kilowatt mark for the first time. "It's the most powerful plasma rocket in the world right now," says Franklin Chang-Diaz, former NASA astronaut and CEO of Ad Astra. The company has also signed...
  • NASA Probe to Uncover Secrets of Brightest Asteroid Vesta ('Dawn' probe to orbit protoplanet)

    07/15/2011 12:31:35 PM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 25 replies
    SPACE.com ^ | 7/15/11 | Charles Q. Choi
    The asteroid Vesta may be the brightest asteroid in the solar system, but it remains shrouded in mystery. When NASA's Dawn probe enters into orbit around Vesta on July 15 — the first spacecraft to visit the 330-mile-wide (530-kilometer) protoplanet — it promises to shed light on the many enigmas of the second-largest body in the asteroid belt. NASA launched the $466 million Dawn mission in 2007, with Vesta as the first (but not last) stop. The Dawn probe is also expected to visit Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system, but only after unlocking the secrets of Vesta....
  • Vesta Ahoy!

    05/14/2011 4:29:46 AM PDT · by Lonesome in Massachussets · 2 replies
    Sky and Telescope Website ^ | Shweta Krishnan
    If you were riding with NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, now cruising the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, you would see a brightening new point of light against the starry background. This is Vesta, your immediate destination. Artist rendition of Dawn gathering spectral data from Vesta. Scientists have estimated that Dawn will enter Vesta’s gravitational field on July 16, 2011, and begin taking data when it descends to an altitude of 2700 km from the surface. Dawn’s first image of Vesta, the second-largest object in the asteroid belt, still has fewer pixels than those of it taken by the Hubble Space...
  • Giant Asteroid Vesta Revealed in NASA Spacecraft's 1st Photo

    05/11/2011 6:10:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 57 replies
    SPACE.com ^ | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Staff
    This image shows the first, unprocessed image obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft of the giant asteroid Vesta in front of a background of stars. It was obtained by Dawn's framing camera on May 3, 2011, from a distance of about 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers). CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
  • NASA's New Target: A manned mission to an asteroid sounds far-fetched...

    12/19/2007 5:28:54 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies · 88+ views
    Popular Science ^ | October 2007 | Dawn Stover
    Astronauts, space buffs and an unimpressed public hunger for space exploration that's more dramatic, more heroic, more new. Something like, say, landing astronauts on a distant rock hurtling through space at 15 miles per second. That's exactly the kind of trip NASA has been studying. In fact, scientists at the space agency recently determined that a manned mission to a near-Earth asteroid would be possible using technology being developed today... This wouldn't be our first trip to an asteroid. We've been visiting them by proxy for years now, using unmanned space probes. In 2000 NASA's NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft arrived at...
  • Dawn Liftoff at Dawn... on mission to Ceres and Vesta

    09/28/2007 7:17:50 AM PDT · by cogitator · 22 replies · 143+ views
    Dawn Mission ^ | 09/28/2007 | NASA
    I'm mainly posting this because the liftoff image is one of the most impressive I've seen.
  • NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Begins Trek to Asteroid Belt

    09/27/2007 1:10:44 PM PDT · by saganite · 37 replies · 229+ views
    Space.com ^ | 27 September 2007 | Tariq Malik
    A NASA probe blasted into space early Thursday, kicking off an unprecedented mission to explore the two largest asteroids in the solar system. Riding atop a Delta 2 rocket, NASA's Dawn spacecraft launched toward the asteroids Vesta and Ceres at 7:34 a.m. EDT (1134 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. "In my view, we're going to be visiting some of the last unexplored worlds in the solar system," said Marc Rayman, Dawn director of system engineering at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. Dawn's eight-year mission will carry the 2,685-pound (1,212-kilogram) probe across...
  • NASA delays launch of Dawn spacecraft (Cape Canaveral: Rescheduled)

    07/07/2007 2:22:52 PM PDT · by bd476 · 12 replies · 620+ views
    Xinhua and Space.com ^ | July 7, 2007
    Washington, July 8 (Xinhua): The launch of NASA's Dawn spacecraft to explore two massive asteroids has been rescheduled to no earlier than Monday, July 9, NASA announced. The launch window for Dawn on Monday will be 3:56 p.m. to 4:26 p.m. EDT (1956 GMT to 2026 GMT). It will be sent into space by a Delta 2 rocket. The delay was prompted by difficulties with an aircraft that would gather data signals from the rocket during launch, and the availability of a tracking ship, NASA said in a statement. Also, the weather forecast at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station...
  • Asteroid mission postponed until July 15 (NASA's Dawn spacecraft destined for Vesta and Ceres)

    07/06/2007 7:59:06 PM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 10 replies · 341+ views
    AP on Yahoo ^ | 7/6/07 | AP
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The planned weekend launch of a spacecraft to explore two of the solar system's largest asteroids was delayed again because of problems with a tracking ship and aircraft. NASA set Monday afternoon as a new launch time for the Dawn spacecraft, which will embark on a years-long journey to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, which lie between Mars and Jupiter. The spacecraft originally had been set to launch Saturday but that was nixed because thunderstorms and lightning at the launch pad prevented loading its fuel. On Friday, the space agency called off a Sunday launch, too,...
  • Just a few more days for your name to rise with Dawn (Put your name onboard a spacecraft)

    11/01/2006 3:49:52 AM PST · by saganite · 7 replies · 402+ views
    Spaceflight Now ^ | 31 Oct 06 | staff
    NASA's campaign to send the nom de plumes of people from around the world into the heart of the asteroid belt ends Sat., Nov. 4. Submitted names will be carried on board NASA's Dawn, the first spacecraft to travel between and scrutinize two distinct worlds. Mission scientists are confident Dawn observations of asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres will answer basic questions about the nature and composition of these celestial wanderers. "How many chances do you get to fly into the very heart of the asteroid belt?" said Keyur Patel, Dawn project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif....
  • Dawn spacecraft to blast off Sunday on mission to 2 asteroids

    07/05/2007 12:40:25 PM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 23 replies · 558+ views
    AP on Bakersfield Californian ^ | 7/5/07 | Alicia Chang - ap
    NASA this weekend is set to launch a spacecraft that will journey to the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter, a mission that involves a rendezvous with two of the solar system's largest asteroids. Seeking clues about the birth of the solar system, the Dawn spacecraft will first encounter Vesta, the smaller of the two bodies, four years from now. In 2015, it will meet up with Ceres, which carries the status of both asteroid and, like Pluto, dwarf planet. "We're trying to go back in time as well as to go out there in space," said planetary...
  • NASA Restarts Canceled Asteroid Mission - DAWN

    03/27/2006 12:40:16 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 22 replies · 441+ views
    AP on Yahoo ^ | 3/27/06 | Alicia Chang - ap
    LOS ANGELES - NASA decided Monday to restart a mission to explore two of the solar system's largest asteroids, just weeks after the project was killed because of budget woes. The space agency earlier this month scrapped the $446 million Dawn mission to orbit the asteroids Ceres and Vesta, nearly a half year after it was put on hold because of cost overruns and technical problems. NASA decided to review the cancellation after the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which managed the mission, made an appeal. "Our review determined the project team has made substantive progress on many of this mission's technical...
  • NASA Reviews Canceled Asteroid Mission - ("unusual move", new evidence, 'Dawn' lives?)

    03/15/2006 8:00:52 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 7 replies · 355+ views
    AP on Yahoo ^ | 3/15/06 | Alicia Chang - ap
    LOS ANGELES - In an unusual move, NASA is reviewing a recent decision by an agency head to scrap a mission to orbit two asteroids. The Dawn project was canceled on March 2, five months after it was put on standdown because of cost overruns and technical problems. NASA's unusual step to review Dawn's termination came after the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which manages the mission, presented new evidence, the space agency said in a statement. It's the first time in recent memory that a NASA center has challenged a headquarters decision on a canceled mission, said NASA spokeswoman...
  • Icy World Found Inside Asteroid

    09/30/2005 8:19:40 PM PDT · by blam · 41 replies · 1,029+ views
    Science News Magazine ^ | 9-30-2005 | Ron Cowen
    Icy world found inside asteroid Ron Cowen New observations of Ceres, the largest known asteroid, suggest that frozen water may account for as much as 25 percent of its interior. If this is true, the volume of ice on Ceres would be greater than that of all the fresh water on Earth. CERES SERIES. This sequence of Hubble images reveals a bright spot of unknown origin on Ceres during a quarter-turn of the asteroid's 9-hour rotation. Thomas, et al., NASA The evidence comes from Hubble Space Telescope images showing that the 930-kilometer-wide asteroid is smooth and almost perfectly round. Simulations...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars, Ceres, Vesta

    04/10/2014 5:55:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | April 10, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That bright, ruddy star you've recently noticed rising just after sunset isn't a star at all. That's Mars, the Red Planet. Mars is now near its 2014 opposition (April 8) and closest approach (April 14), looping through the constellation Virgo opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. Clearly outshining bluish Spica, alpha star of Virgo, Mars is centered in this labeled skyview from early April, that includes two other solar system worlds approaching their opposition. On the left, small and faint asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres are seen near star Tau Virginis. But you'll just have to imagine...
  • This Dwarf Planet Might Have More Fresh Water Than All Of Earth

    01/26/2014 7:31:00 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 53 replies
    Popular Science ^ | January 22, 2014 | Colin Lecher
    And it's actually (relatively) nearby. This is poor, unfortunate Ceres. Discovered in 1801, it was at first called a planet, then soon classified as an asteroid, and recently as a dwarf planet, not quite qualifying for real planet status despite residing in the solar system's asteroid belt. But now it can feel special: the Herschel Telescope has, the for the first time, detected water on the lil' planet--probably a whole lot of it, too. The telescope, using infrared vision, detected a signature of water vapor from Ceres. The researchers think when the 590-mile-wide Ceres moves closer to the sun, part...
  • Herschel Discovers Water Vapor Spewing from Ceres

    01/22/2014 1:51:16 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | January 22, 2014 | Nancy Atkinson on
    Herschel used its far-infrared vision with the HIFI instrument to see a clear spectral signature of the water vapor. But, interestingly, Herschel did not see water vapor every time it looked. There were variations in the water signal during the dwarf planet’s 9-hour rotation period. The telescope spied water vapor four different times, on one occasion there was no signature. The astronomers deduced that almost all of the water vapor was seen to be coming from just two spots on the surface. Although Herschel was not able to make a resolved image of Ceres, the team was able to derive...