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How Do We Know When We Have Collected a Sample of Bennu?

Kevin Walsh • March 17, 2015

A huge amount of effort goes into deciding where to try to collect a sample on Bennu. There are roughly nine months to survey, map and model the asteroid to help make this decision.

Adding Churyumov-Gerasimenko to my scale comparison of comets and asteroids

Emily Lakdawalla • March 13, 2015

Having found a color photo of the comet, I finally added Churyumov-Gerasimenko to my scale comparison of comets and asteroids visited by spacecraft.

Mini mission updates: Dawn in orbit; Curiosity short circuit; Rosetta image release; Hayabusa2 in cruise phase; and more

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2015

Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.

Dawn Journal: Ceres Orbit Insertion!

Marc Rayman • March 06, 2015

Dawn's Chief Engineer, Marc Rayman, gives an update on the mission's highly anticipated arrival at Ceres.

Seeing Ceres: Then and Now

Paul Gilster • March 06, 2015

Technology writer Paul Gilster shares his interest in how we depict astronomical objects, focusing on the dwarf planet Ceres.

Watch Ceres rotate: A guide to interpreting Dawn's images

Emily Lakdawalla • March 03, 2015

NASA held a press briefing on the Dawn mission yesterday, sharing some new images and early interpretations of them. I see lots of things that intrigue me, and I'm looking forward to Dawn investigating them in more detail. I invite you to check out these photos yourself, and offer you some guidance on things to look for.

At last, Ceres is a geological world

Emily Lakdawalla • February 25, 2015

I've been resisting all urges to speculate on what kinds of geological features are present on Ceres, until now. Finally, Dawn has gotten close enough that the pictures it has returned show geology: bright spots, flat-floored craters, and enigmatic grooves.

Dawn Journal: Ceres' Deepening Mysteries

Marc Rayman • February 25, 2015

Even as we discover more about Ceres, some mysteries only deepen. Mission Director Marc Rayman gives an update on Dawn as it moves ever closer to its next target.

Planet Formation and the Origin of Life

Dante Lauretta • February 09, 2015

To understand the possible distribution of life in the Universe it is important to study planet formation and evolution. These processes are recorded in the chemistry and mineralogy of asteroids and comets, and in the geology of ancient planetary surfaces in our Solar System.

Ceres Coming Into View

Paul Schenk • February 03, 2015

Dawn is on approach to Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, and is starting to resolve features.

Camera now measuring even fainter Near-Earth Objects

Bruce Betts • January 30, 2015

Camera purchased with the support of a 2009 Shoemaker NEO Grant is now on a new telescope providing follow-up measurements for even fainter near-Earth objects.

Dawn Journal: Closing in on Ceres

Marc Rayman • January 30, 2015

Dawn's chief engineer Marc Rayman gives an update on the mission as it gets ever closer to its next target: The dwarf planet Ceres.

Ceres: Just a little bit closer (and officially better than Hubble)

Emily Lakdawalla • January 27, 2015

Last week's Dawn images of Ceres were just slightly less detailed than Hubble's best. This week's are just slightly better.

Sky survey grant helps lead to a space science career

Bruce Betts • January 16, 2015

Quan-Zhi Ye was an 18 year-old college student and the principal investigator of the Lulin Sky Survey when he won a 2007 Shoemaker NEO grant. He's now a Ph.D. candidate and provides an update on his work in meteor studies.

Year of the 'Dwarves': Ceres and Pluto Get Their Due

Paul Schenk • January 15, 2015

This year we achieve the first exploration of these curious but fascinating objects. Paul Schenk explains what we may learn about them.

2007 Shoemaker Grant Still Yielding Asteroid Science

Bruce Betts • January 06, 2015

Telescope purchased in 2007 with the support of a Shoemaker grant is still in service and has worked on over 100 near-Earth asteroids over its 8 years of operation.

New camera improves a California near-Earth asteroid program

Bruce Betts • December 29, 2014

A new camera is improving the efficiency of the Near-Earth Asteroid Program at the Center for Solar System Studies. This update from Shoemaker NEO Grant winner Bob Stephens reveals amazing recent progress using his 2013 Planetary Society grant.

Dawn Journal: History of Ceres

Marc Rayman • December 29, 2014

As Dawn looks toward the new world of Ceres, Mission Director Marc Rayman looks back on Ceres' discovery.

The YORP Effect and Bennu

Dante Lauretta • December 11, 2014

The YORP effect is a phenomenon that affects the rotation rate and pole orientation of an asteroid. YORP is an acronym that combines four scientist’s names: Yarkovsky, O’Keefe, Radzievskii, and Paddack.

Ceres is round!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 05, 2014

Okay, so the fact that Ceres is round is not news. It's still thrilling to see Ceres begin to come into focus as a round world.

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