Dawn continues to close in on Mars, ready for the gravitational slingshot that will help it on its expedition to the asteroid belt and its quest to gain insights into the evolution of the solar system.
Dawn continues on course for its pas de deux with Mars on February 17. The planet's gravity will gracefully assist the spacecraft on its way to rendezvous with its intended celestial partners Vesta and Ceres in the more distant asteroid belt.
On the first anniversary of its departure from Earth, Dawn continues with what it has been doing for most of its time in space. With the greatest patience, it is gently reshaping its orbit around the Sun with its ion propulsion system.
Dawn continues its powered flight, having accumulated more than 100 days of ion thrusting since its launch nearly seven months ago. All systems are healthy as the probe patiently and persistently propels itself through the solar system.
Treating intercalary days just as it does most other days in its interplanetary cruise, today Dawn continues patiently and ever-so-gently reshaping its orbit around the Sun with the delicate yet persistent push from its ion propulsion system.