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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 comments

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 comments

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 comments

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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The scale of our solar system

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:26 CDT

Space.com has taken advantage of the infinitely scrollable nature of Web pages to produce a really cool infographic on the scales of orbital distances in the solar system.

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So far, no moons found at Ceres or Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/15 02:37 CDT

Since the Galileo mission discovered tiny Dactyl circling Ida in 1993, quite a lot of asteroid systems have been found to be binary; there are even a few triples. So it's quite reasonable to guess that two of the biggest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, might also have satellites.

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LPSC 2011: Day 1: Small bodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/08 12:28 CST

Here are some of the noteworthy items from the morning's session on "Small Bodies: A Traverse from NEOs to TNOs" and the afternoon's session on "Asteroid Geophysics and Processes: Surfaces and Interiors."

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