July 15, 2019

Astronomy Video Of the Week: Seeking Ceres

Ceres on February 12th, 2015 from 52,000 miles distant

(Credit: NASA/Dawn).

Getting closer…

Fresh off of its exploration of the asteroid 4 Vesta in 2011-2012, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has been delivering some pretty mind-blowing images of the largest asteroid of them all: 1 Ceres. Dawn just passed the quarter million mile distant mark from Ceres last month, and is now closer to the worldlet than the Moon is to the Earth. And next week, Dawn will reach another milestone on March 6th, when it becomes the first spacecraft to enter orbit around a second world in the course of its mission. Dawn has achieved this via its revolutionary ion drive propulsion, which gives it a slow but steady push offering an optimal thrust to fuel weight ratio. [Read more...]