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Dawn's cryptic image release titles

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/14 04:44 CDT

Every day's image release from the Dawn spacecraft shows something on Vesta that is weird and cool and difficult to explain. The images come out with very little information describing what is going on to make those weird landscapes.

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Meeting today: The infelicitously named "SBAG"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/25 01:45 CDT

NASA funds regular meetings of scientists who work on different parts of the solar system to provide scientific input into NASA's future plans. These "analysis groups" are known by their acronyms, all of which sound kind of horrible, but none has quite as terrible-sounding an acronym as "SBAG," usually pronouced "ess-bag," the Small Bodies Assessment Group.

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Vesta's wacky craters

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/16 09:26 CDT

Dawn's images of Vesta show craters upon craters, but the longer I study the images, the wackier the craters look.

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What I see in the first high-res Dawn images of Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/02 11:22 CDT

I had to wait until the kids were in bed and the husband fed last night before I finally had time to sit down and really look at the Dawn images of Vesta. And I still hardly knew where to begin. This brand new world is just so different than others I've seen.

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Fabulous Dawn Vesta images and rotation movie!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/01 11:58 CDT

Now that Dawn's close enough to Vesta, we're seeing absolutely spectacular detail and tremendous diversity across Vesta's surface. As usual it'll probably take me a while to bring together all the new information, so as a stopgap I'm going to post an awesome image and a rotation movie.

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A different face of Vesta (oh, *there's* the craters!)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/29 12:30 CDT

Here's the latest image release from Dawn at Vesta, taken from an altitude about twice as high as that of their first mapping orbit.

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Dawn Journal: Dawn has arrived!

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/07/26 11:55 CDT

After covering 2.8 billion kilometers (1.7 billion miles) on its own, after traveling for nearly four years through the lonely emptiness of interplanetary space, after being bound by the gravity only of the sun, Dawn is finally in orbit around Vesta.

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Vesta in infrared color!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/19 11:27 CDT

Yet another sharp-eyed reader (I love my readers!) pointed out to me that the German-language release on the MPS website about the latest Vesta image from Dawn included what looked like a tiny thumbnail of a color view.

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Yet another new image of Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/18 07:21 CDT

A sharp-eyed reader noticed that a size comparison montage posted by the Dawn mission today included an image of Vesta that had not yet been released separately to the public, and it is a very cool one.

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Congratulations to the Dawn team on their orbit entry & pretty pictures!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/18 05:08 CDT

There's a new orbital mission on the map! As of Friday, the relatively small mass of the asteroid Vesta has finally taken hold of its new artificial satellite, Dawn.

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Origins 2011 conference, part 1

Posted by Frank Trixler on 2011/07/14 12:53 CDT

The Origins 2011 conference, which took place last week in Montpellier, France, was dedicated to the origins of life and its occurrence in the universe. At this meeting, scientists from very different disciplines came together to share their ideas.

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Ever closer to Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/04 09:30 CDT

Here's a photo of Vesta that was released by the Dawn team on Friday. I didn't post it right away because the version of the image in the official release has some bizarre processing artifacts that make it look as though the image had been made by cutting construction paper.

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Amateur takes on the Dawn Vesta images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/24 10:12 CDT

I am pretty sure that the Dawn team put nearly every image they've taken of Vesta so far in the animation they released yesterday, which is awesome. It hasn't taken long for the amateur image processing community to pick that animation apart into its component frames and process the heck out of the individual images to produce some very fine looking images and animations.

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Vesta looks pretty battered

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/23 01:53 CDT

There was a press briefing on Dawn today at NASA Headquarters, and there are new pictures! Here's what Vesta looked like as of three days ago, when Dawn was only 189,000 kilometers away.

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Vesta, now better than Hubble!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/17 07:55 CDT

Closer and closer! Vesta is still fuzzy, but as Dawn inexorably draws closer it's beginning to come into focus. The view is now better than anything Hubble has ever returned to Earth.

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Land ho!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/11 12:23 CDT

It's hard to convey just how excited I am to see Dawn's first image of asteroid Vesta.

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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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Place names on Lutetia

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/26 05:56 CDT

Whenever we explore someplace new -- a new island, a new continent, a new cave, a new world -- there's a necessary activity that explorers must perform before they can sensibly tell the world about their discoveries: name things.

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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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