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November 13, 2012
(06/20/2007) --- KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At Astrotech, technicians prepare the Dawn spacecraft for a media showing. On each side are the folded solar array panels. At the top is the high gain antenna, covered by a sun shade. At the bottom is one of the ion propulsion thrusters. Dawn's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail the largest protoplanets that have remained intact since their formations: asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. They reside in the extensive zone between Mars and Jupiter together with many other smaller bodies, called the asteroid belt. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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