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Thread: Dawn around Ceres

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    UFO Dawn around Ceres



    Dawn will be orbiting as low as 300km, eventually!

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    BBC News - Nasa's Dawn probe achieves orbit around Ceres

     81454746 81454745 - Dawn around Ceres

    The US space agency's Dawn probe has gone into orbit around Ceres, the largest object in the Solar System between Mars and Jupiter.

    A signal from the satellite confirming its status was received by ground stations at 13:36 GMT.

    Ceres is the first of the dwarf planets to be visited by a spacecraft.

    Scientists hope to glean information from the object that can tell them about the Solar System's beginnings, four and a half billion years ago.

    Dawn has taken 7.5 years to reach its destination. Its arrival has seen it pass behind the dwarf to its "dark side".

    Over the next month, controllers will re-shape the orbit to get it ready to begin the prime science phase in late April.

    Over time, the intention is to progressively lower the orbit until the probe is just a few hundred km above the surface. By that stage, it will be returning very high resolution pictures.
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    Dawn spacecraft starts to orbit Ceres in mission to photograph dwarf planet | Science | The Guardian

    10a44df6 a2c7 440d a672 153f9d5ad3dc 620x372 - Dawn around Ceres

    The Dawn spacecraft has started orbiting Ceres, the largest-known body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, taking “close-up” images that scientists hope will reveal the mystery of a pair of bright spots on the dwarf planet.

    Scientists have been intrigued by earlier images from the Nasa spacecraft of 621-mile-wide Ceres, with the brighter of the two spots in a crater reflecting at least 40% of the sunlight that falls on it.

    Given that frozen water makes up at least a quarter of the bulk of Ceres, speculation so far is that they may well be patches of primordial ice. There are other theories. The bright spots might be the work of volcanic eruptions on Ceres that blast ice out from the body’s interior.

    Yet another explanation could be the materials that make up the object. Some asteroids shine brightly because of their mineral properties. Known as enstatite asteroids, they are rich in magnesium silicates, which can reflect nearly half of the light they receive.

    Dawn, which began its final approach to Ceres in December, will spend the next 16 months photographing its icy surface.

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    UFO Re: Dawn around Ceres

    Nature World News:

    Dawn Arrives: NASA Spacecraft Orbits Ceres : News : Nature World News

    A stunning 600 miles in diameter, Ceres is a perfectly round little world, almost like an incredibly small planet as it floats alone in space. Astronomers have long concluded that Ceres and another massive body in the Asteroid Belt, known as Vesta, are likely planets that were never given a chance to fully develop, as their growth was disrupted by the the immense gravity of nearby gas giant Jupiter.

    "These two bodies are much more massive than any body yet visited in this region of space and are truly small planets," the Dawn mission team, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), previously wrote in their mission statement.

    Ceres alone is so large that NASA's experts have suspected it could even boast an incredibly thin atmosphere of its own.

    "Since its discovery in 1801, Ceres was known as a planet, then an asteroid and later a dwarf planet," Marc Rayman, Dawn chief engineer and mission director at JPL, recently explained.

    This technically puts Ceres in the same class as Pluto, which was demoted from its status as a true planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) back in 2006. After looking at the stunning photos delivered by Dawn as it drew closer to Ceres, you really can't blame them for their decision. Both Vesta, which Dawn visited back in July 2011, and Ceres are incredibly large and planet-like - not quite like moons, but certainly nothing like other terrestrial planets in this solar system (Earth, Mars, etc.).

    But regardless of what astronomers call it, "after a journey of 3.1 billion miles (4.9 billion kilometers) and 7.5 years, Dawn calls Ceres,' home,'" Rayman said.

    "We feel exhilarated," added the Dawn mission's principle investigator, Chris Russell. "We have much to do over the next year and a half, but we are now on station with ample reserves, and a robust plan to obtain our science objectives."

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