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Dawn is about 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) from Ceres, closing in at less than 900 mph (0.4 kilometers per second). It is on course for arriving in orbit in early March 2015. A summary of the schedule for photographing Ceres during the approach phase in January.
Ceres has a rocky core about 750 km (465 mi) in diameter covered by a 100 km (62 mi) thick layer of ice. The lot are then covered by a thin layer of whatever debris has settled on Ceres' surface over the last four billion years. Ceres may have accumulated its horde of ice by originating further out from the Sun, and only later settling down into its present orbit by interacting with the giant planets once they were formed.
It is interesting to note that if this model is even close to reality, there is more water on Ceres than there is fresh water on Earth. A base on Ceres may be a must for the future of space exploration, colonization, and industry.
originally posted by: Saint Exupery
originally posted by: eriktheawful
That 1.3 million miles means it's less than 3 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon!
Actually ~5 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
originally posted by: NiZZiM
a reply to: eriktheawful
I thought Dawns primary mission was Pluto, and then on to Ceres years later?
Edit: oh sorry I mistook Dawn for new horizons, but I heard New horizons will also be heading out towards the far reaches after it goes by Pluto.