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Latest Dawn mission Stories

asteroids seen from mars surface
2014-04-25 05:47:16

Guy Webster, Jet Propulsion Laboratory A new image from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is the first ever from the surface of Mars to show an asteroid, and it shows two: Ceres and Vesta. These two -- the largest and third-largest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter -- are the destinations of NASA's Dawn mission.  Dawn orbited Vesta in 2011 and 2012, and is on its way to begin orbiting Ceres next year. Ceres is a dwarf planet, as well as an asteroid. Ceres and Vesta...

Dawn Has Vesta's Dark Materials In View
2013-01-03 12:54:32

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory A new study of images from NASA's Dawn mission examines remarkable, dark-as-coal material that speckles the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. Scientists are using the images, taken by Dawn's framing camera, to understand the impact environment early in Vesta's evolution. In the most comprehensive analysis of the dark material to date, Dawn scientists describe how this carbon-rich material tends to appear around the edges of two giant impact basins in...

Vesta's Coat Of Many Colors
2012-06-07 09:05:24

[ Watch the Video ] A new video from NASA's Dawn mission reveals the dappled, variegated surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. The animation drapes high-resolution false color images over a 3-D model of the Vesta terrain constructed from Dawn's observations. This visualization enables a detailed view of the variation in the material properties of Vesta in the context of its topography. The colors were chosen to highlight differences in surface composition that are too subtle for the...

Image 1 - Models Reveal That Vesta Is Likely Cold And Dark Enough For Ice
2012-01-26 05:40:12

Though generally thought to be quite dry, roughly half of the giant asteroid Vesta is expected to be so cold and to receive so little sunlight that water ice could have survived there for billions of years, according to the first published models of Vesta's average global temperatures and illumination by the sun. "Near the north and south poles, the conditions appear to be favorable for water ice to exist beneath the surface," says Timothy Stubbs of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in...

Low Altitude Images Of Vesta Returned By Dawn Spacecraft
2011-12-22 04:31:12

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has sent back the first images of the giant asteroid Vesta from its low-altitude mapping orbit. The images, obtained by the framing camera, show the stippled and lumpy surface in detail never seen before, piquing the curiosity of scientists who are studying Vesta for clues about the solar system's early history. At this detailed resolution, the surface shows abundant small craters, and textures such as small grooves and lineaments that are reminiscent of the...

Image 1 - Dawn's Bounty Of Beauty From Vesta
2011-09-18 04:52:11

  [ Video 1 ] [ Video 2 ] A new video from NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes us on a flyover journey above the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. The data obtained by Dawn's framing camera, used to produce the visualizations, will help scientists determine the processes that formed Vesta's striking features. It will also help Dawn mission fans all over the world visualize this mysterious world, which is the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt. You'll notice in...

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2011-03-22 10:05:00

After a hibernation of about six months, the framing cameras on board NASA's Dawn spacecraft have again ventured a look into the stars. The spacecraft also powered up its visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, which investigates surface mineralogy, and the gamma ray and neutron detector, which detects elemental composition. The reactivation prepares the instruments for the May approach and July arrival at Vesta, Dawn's first port of call in the asteroid belt. "Last week, we gently 'woke...

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2010-10-11 06:50:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured images of the large asteroid Vesta that will help scientists refine plans for the Dawn spacecraft's rendezvous with Vesta in July 2011. Scientists have constructed a video from the images that will help improve pointing instructions for Dawn as it is placed in a polar orbit around Vesta. Analyses of Hubble images revealed a pole orientation, or tilt, of approximately four degrees more to the asteroid's east than scientists previously thought. This...

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2010-06-08 07:15:00

Deep in the heart of the asteroid belt, on its way to the first of the belt's two most massive inhabitants, NASA's ion-propelled Dawn spacecraft has eclipsed the record for velocity change produced by a spacecraft's engines. The previous standard-bearer for velocity change, NASA's Deep Space 1, also impelled by ion propulsion, was the first interplanetary spacecraft to use this technology. The Deep Space 1 record fell on Saturday, June 5, when the Dawn spacecraft's accumulated acceleration...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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