Now in its third year of orbiting a distant dwarf planet, a spacecraft from Earth is as active as ever. Like a master artist, Dawn is working hard to add fine details to its stunning portrait of Ceres.
2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of what has become one of the primary venues for the publication of research in planetary science: the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. This occasion is a good opportunity to look back at what we have learned in this era of expanded exploration and to try to take a peek at the future.
Nine years ago today, Dawn set sail on an epic journey of discovery and adventure. The intrepid explorer has sailed the cosmic seas and collected treasures that far exceeded anything anticipated or even hoped for.
Following the conclusion of Dawn's ambitious 8.8-year prime mission on June 30, the spacecraft has been gathering a wealth of data with all sensors in its extended mission as it orbits closer to Ceres than the International Space Station is to Earth.