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Blog Archive

 

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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Images from the long-awaited Dawn Vesta data set

Posted by Daniel Macháček on 2012/11/29 11:55 CST | 4 comments

A few days ago, the Dawn mission finally published their archival data. During the year of delay I often looked with anticipation to the Planetary Data System to check whether or not images were there, and I am delighted that they are finally available. Was the wait worth it? Definitely!

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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 Vesta Data is publicly available (for real this time!)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/16 07:08 CST | 2 comments

After a false start earlier this year, the first chunk of Dawn Framing Camera data from Vesta has finally made it to the Planetary Data System. As a first step to understanding the data set, I've built some index pages to these cool images.

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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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Dawn Journal: Five years since launch

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/09/27 03:37 CDT | 2 comments

On the fifth anniversary of its launch, Dawn is on the way to Ceres.

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Spring arrives to Vesta's north pole, as Dawn departs, plus a request for citizen scientists

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/11 11:08 CDT | 3 comments

Dawn's last images of Vesta peek into previously shadowy north polar territory. As the spacecraft leaves Vesta behind, its science team requests help from the public.

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Dawn journal: Back to interplanetary space

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/09/06 12:49 CDT

After more than a year in orbit, Dawn has left Vesta, beginning the spacecraft's journey to Ceres.

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What's Up in the Solar System in September 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/31 04:17 CDT | 4 comments

It's an active time in interplanetary exploration! Curiosity has begun roving Mars, and Opportunity's not wasting any time either. Dawn has just departed Vesta and begun the more than two-year cruise to Ceres. Juno is in the middle of a big deep-space maneuver, setting up next year's Earth flyby.

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Pretty picture: Vesta's crater Aelia in high resolution

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/13 02:59 CDT | 3 comments

I think my favorite features on Vesta are its streaky craters. Today's image release shows one of the streakiest: Aelia, a little crater on the flank of a larger one, near Vesta's equator.

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Dawn journal: The long, slow goodbye

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/07/26 12:40 CDT | 1 comments

Dawn has completed the final intensive phase of its exploration of Vesta, and it has now begun its gradual departure for Ceres.

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Dawn journal: seeing Vesta in a new light

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/07/06 02:33 CDT | 1 comments

Once again Dawn is diligently mapping Vesta, circling the ancient protoplanet about twice a day, observing the signatures of Vesta's tortured history.

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What's Up in the Solar System in July 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/02 11:50 CDT

Welcome to my monthly roundup of the activities of our intrepid robotic emissaries across the solar system! Curiosity is about to land; Opportunity has rolled through sol 3000; Odyssey is back online, having switched to a spare reaction wheel; Dawn is now in High-Altitude Mapping Orbit 2; and Cassini is taking advantage of its newly inclined orbit to get spectacular series of images of Saturn's rings.

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Dawn Journal: Riding gravitational currents to HAMO2

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/06/05 03:30 CDT

Dawn is beginning its departure from Vesta, spiraling upward from its low-altitude mapping orbit to a higher one from which it will map north polar terrain not visible during the earlier mapping orbit.

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