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Keyword: ceres

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  • 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Humanity Explores the Solar System

    04/30/2013 5:10:54 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | April 30, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What spacecraft is humanity currently using to explore our Solar System? Presently, every inner planet has at least one robotic explorer, while several others are monitoring our Sun, some are mapping Earth's Moon, a few are chasing asteroids and comets, one is orbiting Saturn, and several are even heading out into deep space. The above illustration gives more details, with the inner Solar System depicted on the upper right and the outer Solar System on the lower left. Given the present armada, our current epoch might become known as the time when humanity first probed its own star system....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Bright Jupiter in Taurus

    11/27/2012 3:22:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | November 27, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That bright star you've recently noticed rising just after sunset isn't a star at all. It's Jupiter, the solar system's ruling gas giant. Bright Jupiter is nearing its December 3rd opposition when it will stand in Taurus, opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. Clearly outshining yellowish Aldebaran, alpha star of Taurus, Jupiter is centered in this skyview from November 14th, also featuring the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters, familiar celestial sights as the northern hemisphere winter approaches. Sliding your cursor over the image will label the scene and identify two other solar system worlds approaching their opposition in...
  • Asteroid #2 down; on to Asteroid #1!

    09/03/2012 11:44:43 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 17 replies
    Starts With a BANG! ^ | 8/30/12 | Ethan Siegel
    “I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to the public.” -Giuseppe Piazzi, discoverer of Ceres, the first Asteroid Out beyond Mars, but not quite out as far as Jupiter, a collection of thousands of rocky objects, ranging in size from pebbles all the way up to the size of Texas, lies the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Conjunctions near Dawn

    06/30/2012 6:33:51 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | June 30, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Now shining in eastern skies at dawn, bright planets Venus and Jupiter join the Pleiades star cluster in this sea and sky scape, recorded earlier this week near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Venus dominates the scene that includes bright star Aldebaran just below and to the right. The planets are easy to spot for early morning risers, but this sky also holds two of our solar system's small worlds, Vesta and Ceres, not quite bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye. The digital camera's time exposure just captures them, though. Their positions are indicated when you put your...
  • When Will Media Report That Corporate Cash is Behind Green Activism?

    03/31/2011 2:34:07 PM PDT · by jazusamo · 10 replies
    National Legal & Policy Center ^ | March 31, 2011 | Paul Chesser
    Politico reported yesterday that "it's not easy being green anymore," allegedly because of environmental groups' failure to score political victories even when news events are in their favor, such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and the Japan nuclear reactor drama. And initiatives such as cap-and-trade failed despite the environoiacs' having a Democrat-dominated Congress and executive branch in 2009 and 2010. From the news story: "I don't understand how these guys, the funders, don't ask for their money back or start suing for political incompetence," a longtime Democratic strategist said of the Washington-based environmental movement. "You're judged...
  • Green Pressure Groups Want More Corporate Climate Disclosure (Enviro insanity)

    03/11/2011 9:14:37 AM PST · by jazusamo · 6 replies
    National Legal & Policy Center ^ | March 11, 2011 | Paul Chesser
    Environmental pressure group Ceres, whose primary activity is to drive corporations to report their greenhouse gas emitting activities and disclose climate risk in their Securities and Exchange Commission filings, recently released a report that outlines exactly what companies should be disclosing. The report, “Disclosing Climate Risks and Opportunities in SEC Filings: A Guide for Corporate Executives, Attorneys and Directors,” was written by three environmentalist attorneys and was reviewed by representatives of Friends of the Earth, Climate Change Lawyers Network, Carbon Disclosure Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, Investor Environmental Health Network, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, California State Teachers’ Retirement...
  • Investors File a Record 95 Climate Change Resolutions: a 40% Increase Over 2009 Proxy Season

    03/05/2010 7:30:50 AM PST · by Williams · 7 replies · 318+ views
    Record Filings Follow SEC Calls for Stronger Corporate Attention to Climate Change .... BOSTON (March 4, 2010) – Leading U.S. investors today announced that they have filed a record 95 climate change shareholder resolutions with 82 U.S. and Canadian companies that face far-reaching business challenges from climate change. The 40 percent increase in resolutions filed over last year is a first sign of the growing pressure on companies to disclose climate risks and opportunities in the wake of the recent Securities and Exchange Commission’s climate disclosure guidance and other recent policy developments. Companies targeted in the 2010 proxy season include...
  • Craters on Vesta and Ceres could hold key to Jupiter’s age

    09/19/2009 4:03:05 PM PDT · by Fred Nerks · 15 replies · 772+ views
    SCIENCE CENTRIC ^ | 14 September 2009 00:02 GMT | by Anita Heward
    Crater patterns on Vesta and Ceres could help pinpoint when Jupiter began to form during the evolution of the early Solar System. A study modelling the cratering history of the largest two objects in the asteroid belt, which are believed to be among the oldest in the Solar System, indicates that the type and distribution of craters would show marked changes at different stages of Jupiter’s development. Results will be presented by Dr Diego Turrini at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany, on Monday 14 September. The study, carried out by scientists at the Italian National Institute for...
  • Are You Cereous? Life Came from an Asteroid?

    03/06/2009 4:12:22 PM PST · by GodGunsGuts · 81 replies · 2,279+ views
    CEH ^ | March 5, 2009
    Are You Cereous?  Life Came from an Asteroid?March 5, 2009 — Ceres is an icy asteroid way out in space that has a lot of ice.  The DAWN spacecraft is heading there.  When it arrives in 2015, maybe it will find out if a substantial part of the water is in liquid state under an ice crust.  Say the word water, and some think... life. reported that an astrobiologist has a new idea: life started on Ceres and then moved to Earth.  Believe it or not, it’s a radical new theory Joot Houtkooper told the International Society...
  • NASA to embark on asteroid-belt mission (DAWN - launch set for just after sunrise Thursday 9/27/07)

    09/25/2007 6:51:42 PM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 71 replies · 1,002+ views
    AP on Yahoo ^ | 9/25/07 | Marcia Dunn - ap
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA is about to embark on an unprecedented asteroid-belt mission with a spacecraft aptly named Dawn. The 3 billion-mile, eight-year journey to probe the earliest stages of the solar system will begin with liftoff, planned for just after sunrise Thursday. Rain is forecast, however, and could force a delay. Scientists have been waiting for Dawn to rise since July, when the mission was put off because of the more pressing need to launch NASA's latest Mars lander, the Phoenix. Once Phoenix rocketed away in August, that cleared the way for Dawn. "For the people in the...
  • Study: Miscanthus More Than Twice as Productive as Switchgrass for Energy Crop

    07/12/2007 8:28:29 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 57 replies · 1,398+ views ^ | 07/11/2007 | Staff
    Miscanthus. Standing next to the grass is Dr. Emily Heaton (now with Ceres), who is 5' 4" (163 cm) tall. Source: UIUC Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have made the first direct comparisons of the biomass productivity of two C4 perennial grasses: switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus). The two have been widely trialed as low-input bioenergy crops in the US and EU, respectively. Results from the trials throughout Illinois show that Miscanthus is more than twice as productive as switchgrass. Its efficiency of conversion of sunlight into biomass is amongst the highest ever...
  • Pluto's Brave New Worlds (Astronomers' Org. Proposal: There Are Now At Least 12 Planets)

    08/15/2006 8:40:00 PM PDT · by Pyro7480 · 67 replies · 1,414+ views
    Washington Post ^ | 8/16/2006 | Dava Sobel
    Not for the first time, but with new urgency in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) impaneled a committee to define both the word "planet" and the status of Pluto. Our committee -- seven in number, like the planets of old -- met at the Paris Observatory in late June and reached a unanimous agreement. In short: A planet is a body in orbit around a star (as opposed to orbiting another planet) and big enough for gravity to make it round. The full text of our proposed definition is being released today, to be discussed by astronomers from around...
  • NASA Asteroid [Dawn] Mission Won't Launch This Year

    01/21/2006 2:15:30 PM PST · by Fitzcarraldo · 9 replies · 285+ views ^ | 21 January 2006 | Alicia Chang
    LOS ANGELES (AP)—A NASA spacecraft built to explore two of the solar system's largest asteroids won't launch this year because the space agency is dealing with cost overruns and technical issues in the project. The planned summer launch of the Dawn spacecraft has been indefinitely postponed, said Andrew Dantzler, director of NASA's solar system division. Mission managers had been ordered to halt work on Dawn last fall while the project was assessed by an independent review team, which is expected to present its findings to NASA on Jan. 27. Even if NASA gives Dawn the green light, it would take...
  • Probe To 'Look Inside' Asteroids

    07/28/2004 8:22:08 AM PDT · by blam · 28 replies · 956+ views
    BBC ^ | 7-28-2004 | Paul Rincon
    Probe to 'look inside' asteroids By Paul Rincon BBC News Online science staff in Paris, France Studies of asteroids would aid Earth-protection strategies A new space mission concept unveiled at a Paris conference aims to look inside asteroids to reveal how they are made. Deep Interior would use radar to probe the origin and evolution of two near-Earth objects less than 1km across. The mission, which could launch some time later this decade, would also give clues to how the planets evolved. The perceived threat of asteroids colliding with our planet has renewed interest in space missions to understand these...