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Dawn probe topic - Photos and updates

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posted on Jun, 18 2011 @ 06:25 PM
Fisrtly, here's a short presentation about "Dawn", taken from the NASA mission page:

Dawn, as a mission belonging to NASA’s Discovery Program, delves into the unknown, drives new technology innovations, and achieves what's never been attempted before. In Dawn’s case, it is orbiting one member of the main asteroid belt, Vesta, before heading to gather yet more data at a second, Ceres.

Dawn's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail two of the largest protoplanets remaining intact since their formations. Ceres and Vesta reside in the extensive zone between Mars and Jupiter together with many other smaller bodies, called the asteroid belt. Each has followed a very different evolutionary path constrained by the diversity of processes that operated during the first few million years of solar system evolution.

Launched on September 27, 2007, Dawn is scheduled to explore Vesta between 2011 and 2012, and Ceres in 2015. It will be the first spacecraft to visit either body.
Dawn is innovative in that it will be the first spacecraft to enter into orbit around a celestial body, study it, and then re-embark under powered flight to proceed to a second target...

We just received today, from the Dawn Framing Camera's home institution, the Max-Planck-Institut für
Sonnensystemforschung a stunning picture of the protoplanet Vesta, which have a better resolution than Hubble!

Closer and closer! Vesta is still fuzzy, but as Dawn inexorably draws closer it's beginning to come into focus. The view is now better than anything Hubble has ever returned to Earth. This is the beginning of our exploration of previously unexplored territory!

NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on June 14, 2011. It was taken from a distance of about 165,000 miles (265,000 kilometers) away from the protoplanet Vesta. Each pixel in the image corresponds to roughly 16 miles (25 kilometers).

There's clearly a deep crater in the northern part of the image. And the outline is definitely lumpier than the outlines of similarly sized bodies in the outer solar system (like Mimas and Enceladus), but we knew that already; the rock that Vesta is made of is able to hold up steeper mountains than the relatively low-strength ices that outer planet moons are made of. Apart from that, it's still hard to tell what's albedo differences and what's topography. But that won't be true for long.

Here's a croped version of the image:

....from the planetary society blog

Next major step for the probe will be the arrival on Vesta next month (July, 16th); it will stay here into orbit for one full month until the next mission to Ceres (arrival scheduled in February 2015)

On May 3, 2011, Dawn photographed Vesta for the first time:

“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 1.2 million kilometers, or 750,000 miles.”
edit on 18-6-2011 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 18 2011 @ 06:39 PM
...And here's what Hubble spotted last year:

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped these images of the asteroid Vesta in preparation for the Dawn spacecraft's visit in 2011. Each of the four Hubble images captures views of Vesta during its 5.34-hour rotation period.

Now, we have a full month to see how the resolution evolve!
Stay tunned!

posted on Jun, 18 2011 @ 07:50 PM
Dawn snapped some amazing photos for sure. I think we need more government spending for space exploration.
Instead our tax dollars are hard at work keeping criminals in prison fed and housed.

posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 12:35 AM
reply to post by sith9157

Amen to that....maybe then we could find more ways to travel farther faster, and actually see whats out there.

posted on Jun, 26 2011 @ 10:44 AM

June 20, 2011


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