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Blogs

Blog Archive

 

Dawn Journal: From HAMO to LAMO and Beyond

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/09/02 06:40 CDT | 10 comments

Marc Rayman updates us on the Dawn mission, its plans from high to low altitude mapping orbits at Ceres, and what the intrepid spacecraft will pursue next.

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Dawn Journal: Survey Orbit at Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/06/03 09:59 CDT | 2 comments

This month Dawn's mission director Marc Rayman continues the preview of how Dawn will explore Ceres, this time in its survey orbit.

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Intro Astronomy Class 6: Mars (continued) and Asteroids

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/03/14 06:10 CDT

Continue exploring Mars and learn about asteroids in this video of class 6 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Pretty Picture: Three Wanderers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/12 12:34 CDT

With all the excitement happening on missions criscrossing the solar system, I often forget to enjoy the views of our solar system that we can achieve from home. Amateur astronomers don't make the same mistake. Here's a lovely photo that Stuart Atkinson sent me, captured last night from Kendal, England, showing four special wanderers.

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2015 will be the Year of the Dwarf Planet, and you need to tell people about it!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/05 07:00 CST | 11 comments

I am very excited about 2015, more so than I have been about any year since I started working at The Planetary Society. Dawn will enter orbit at Ceres, and New Horizons, which will fly past Pluto and Charon. But if we want this kind of exploration to continue, I'm challenging you, dear readers, to tell the world why such non-planetary worlds are compelling places to go exploring.

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Dawn Journal: Distant interplanetary adventurer

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/08/30 04:28 CDT | 1 comment

Traveling confidently and alone, Dawn continues to make its way through the silent depths of the main asteroid belt. The interplanetary adventurer is on its long journey to the uncharted dwarf planet Ceres, by far the largest of all asteroids.

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Dawn Journal: Craving Power

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/07/30 01:12 CDT | 5 comments

Ion propulsion is not a source of power for Dawn. Rather, the craft needs a great deal of power to operate its ion propulsion system and all other systems. It needs so much that...we crave power!!

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Terra Cognita

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/07/29 01:18 CDT | 4 comments

Pushing back the frontier, and filling in the blank spaces on the map.

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Dawn Journal: Breaking Velocity Records

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/07/02 10:26 CDT | 7 comments

The indefatigable Dawn spacecraft is continuing its extraordinary interplanetary flight on behalf of inquisitive creatures on distant Earth. Progressing ever farther from Vesta, the rocky and rugged world it so recently explored, the ship is making good progress toward its second port of call, dwarf planet Ceres.

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Planetary Radio: Don't Step in That Puddle!
The Strong Evidence for Water on the Moon

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/07/01 06:18 CDT

The Planetary Science Institute's Amanda Hendrix is the guest for our July 1 episode. She finds water in the least likely places, including Luna.

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Dawn Journal: Thrusting to a new personal best

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/06/02 12:07 CDT | 2 comments

Traveling from one alien world to another, Dawn is reliably powering its way through the main asteroid belt with its ion propulsion system. Vesta falls farther and farther behind as the spacecraft gently and patiently reshapes its orbit around the sun, aiming for a 2015 rendezvous with dwarf planet Ceres.

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Dawn Journal: A low-orbit shortcut to Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/05/02 02:11 CDT

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn Journal explains why Dawn is currently closer to the Sun than both Ceres and Vesta.

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Dawn Journal: Staying warm en route to Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/03/30 10:05 CDT | 4 comments

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn journal explains the temperature adjustments engineers make to save power and keep the spacecraft warm.

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Dawn Journal: Revisiting orbital mechanics

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/03/01 09:02 CST | 1 comment

Now that Dawn has changed its speed by nearly eight kilometers per second, Marc Rayman revisits the concept of orbital velocity.

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Dawn journal: Vesta's mountains, gorges and craters

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/01/31 06:09 CST | 1 comment

As Dawn continues thrusting toward Ceres, Marc takes a look back at the intrepid spacecraft's discoveries.

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Dawn Journal: Faraway Viewing Through the Mind's Eye

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/01/02 04:38 CST

As Dawn treks onward to Ceres, its path will cross within a few degrees of the moon as seen from Earth on Jan. 21–22.

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Dawn Journal: Hydrazine Haste Makes Waste

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/12/05 11:02 CST | 1 comment

By saving fuel, Dawn will arrive at Ceres in 2015 with about half of the 45.6-kilogram (101-pound) hydrazine supply it had when it rocketed away from Cape Canaveral.

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Planetary Radio: A Dawn MIssion Update
And a Video Tour of Marc Rayman's Space Collection

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/11/20 12:36 CST

A Planetary Radio status report from the Dawn mission's Marc Rayman, accompanied by a fascinating video tour of Marc's at-home collection of space information and memorabilia.

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Dawn Journal: Scary-Good Ion Propulsion

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/10/31 12:34 CDT

Dawn continues to raise its orbit en route to its 2015 date with Ceres. Also, Marc prepares his high-energy Halloween costume.

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Why haven't we found evidence for life starting in asteroids?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/10 01:51 CDT

Here's a theoretical paper that asks an interesting question: When the solar system was very young and still very hot, could medium-sized asteroids have been habitable abodes for life?

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