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Dawn
Dawn Mission to Asteroids Dawn Mission to Dwarf Planets

Goals: Dawn is designed to study the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail two of the largest protoplanets remaining intact since their formations. The orbiter will visit both the asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, two main asteroid belt worlds that followed very differently evolutionary paths.

Accomplishments: Dawn arrived in orbit at asteroid Vesta on 16 June 2011 and departed for Ceres on 5 September 2012. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit a main belt asteroid.

   

Links to Dawn Journal
Key Dates
27 Sep 2007:  Launch (12:34 UTC)
16 Jul 2011:  Orbit Insertion at Asteroid Vesta
5 Sep 2012:  Leaves Vesta -- Travels to Ceres
6 Mar 2015 - Apr 2015:  Ceres Arrival
Status: En Route to Ceres
Fast Facts
Dawn Facts Since its discovery in 1801, Ceres (right) has been classified as a planet, an asteroid and a dwarf planet. It is the nearest dwarf planet to our sun.

Dawn traveled 2.8 billion kilometers (1.8 billion miles) to get from Earth to Vesta. It will travel another 1.6 billion kilometers (990 million miles) to get to Ceres.

Dawn used Mars' gravity to give it a boost to the main asteroid belt.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft on July 16 became the first probe ever to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
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Last Updated: 3 Feb 2014