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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  5nvklj





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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities

Dragon
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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  Empty Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities

Post by Dragon Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:40 pm

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is maneuvering to its lowest-ever orbit for a close-up examination of the inner solar system’s only dwarf planet.

In early June, Dawn will reach its new, final orbit above Ceres. Soon after, it will begin collecting images and other science data from an unprecedented vantage point. This orbit will be less than 30 miles (50 kilometers) above the surface of Ceres -- 10 times closer than the spacecraft has ever been.

Dawn will collect gamma ray and neutron spectra, which help scientists understand variations in the chemical makeup of Ceres’ uppermost layer. That very low orbit also will garner some of Dawn’s closest images yet.

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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:43 pm

Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  PIA22476-800x600
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

On the way to its lowest-ever and final orbit, NASA's Dawn spacecraft is observing Ceres and returning new compositional data (infrared spectra) and images of the dwarf planet's surface, such as this dramatic image of Ceres' limb.

This picture is one of the first images returned by Dawn in more than a year. Dawn captured this view on May 16, 2018 from an altitude of about 270 miles (440 kilometers). The large crater near the horizon is about 22 miles (35 kilometers) in diameter. It is located at about 23 degrees north latitude, 350 degrees east longitude, not far from a series of tholi (small mountains) that include Kwanzaa Tholus.

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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:44 pm



NASA's Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial targets.


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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:46 pm



NASA's Dawn mission to giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres was released before the spacecraft's launch that year.

The mission greatly appreciated Leonard Nimoy's support and participation.


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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:47 pm



NASA's Dawn mission will arrive at Ceres on March 6, 2015, and will be the first spacecraft to explore a dwarf planet. Ceres is the largest body in the main asteroid belt.

At the time of its discovery in 1801 it was considered a planet and later demoted.


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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  334pu7m
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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  Empty Re: Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities

Post by Dragon Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:50 pm



This movie uses data from NASA's Dawn spacecraft to simulate the view from the spacecraft flying over the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta.



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Dawn Mission: New Orbit, New Opportunities  334pu7m

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