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Leftovers from Planet Building: Asteroids
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Artist's illustration of Dawn spacecraft.

NASA missions to asteroids are uncovering critical evidence about conditions in our early solar system and the make-up of the objects that formed the building blocks of our solar system.


Dawn arrived at asteroid Vesta in July 2011, orbited the large asteroid for more than a year and departed on a course to the dwarf planet Ceres in September 2012. Dawn is designed to study the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest time by investigating in detail two of the largest asteroids remaining intact since their formations. The asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres are two main asteroid belt worlds that followed very different evolutionary paths.

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Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014