Monday, March 2, 2015

Dawn Comes to Ceres

This Friday is going to be an exciting day in space exploration!

I just got finished watching NASA’s JPL briefing on the status of the Dawn spacecraft mission, and I loved it! And as Bill Nye says: “When you’re in love, you want to tell the world!”

The Dawn spacecraft was launched in September 2007, and in 2011 it became the first spacecraft to orbit a body in the main asteroid belt: it spent over a year examining the giant asteroid Vesta, making wonderful observations about its surface features and geologic activity. Vesta is the second-largest object in the asteroid belt, but Dawn wasn’t quite satisfied with that.

On Friday, it will reach Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt, and earn two other unprecedented titles: the first spacecraft to orbit two different worlds, and the first spacecraft to reach and investigate a dwarf planet.