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Dawn journal: The long, slow goodbye

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

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 comment

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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Dawn Journal: Rising from a happily long LAMO

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/05/03 03:39 CDT | 3 comments

Marc Rayman's monthly check-in with the Dawn mission describes the achievements of the spacecraft in its Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (including near-global high-resolution imaging!) and explains what's next.

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Cheat sheets for Vesta's craters and Dawn's Vesta timeline

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/19 01:38 CDT

I made myself a cheat sheet to many of Vesta's distinctive-looking craters, and also wrote down a list of the major dates in the timeline of Dawn's exploration of Vesta.

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Dawn Journal: Saluting the Sun

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/03/29 05:19 CDT

On April 18, Dawn will attain its greatest separation yet from Earth, nearly 520 million kilometers (323 million miles) or more than 3.47 astronomical units (AU). Well beyond Mars, fewer than a dozen spacecraft have ever operated so far from Earth. At this extraordinary range, Dawn will be nearly 1,400 times farther than the average distance to the Moon (and 1,300 times farther than the greatest distance attained by Apollo astronauts 42 years ago). The deep-space ship will be well over one million times farther from Earth than the International Space Station and Tiangong-1.

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Dawn Journal: Bonus time at low altitude

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/02/29 02:43 CST

Dawn is continuing its exploits at Vesta, performing detailed studies of the colossal asteroid from its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO).

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More Dawn Vesta approach images: first color views

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/17 11:37 CST

�On June 30, Dawn stopped thrusting for a full Vestian day -- five hours and 20 minutes -- and just watched the asteroid rotate. But unlike the previous observations, they used all of Dawn's�color filters�to acquire the best-ever color photos of the lumpy world.

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Dawn images of Vesta! Released!! For everyone!!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/14 10:57 CST

Some time in the last few days, the Dawn team�made public the first preliminary version�of the first release of their data from the Vesta phase of their mission.�

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Dawn Journal: How does Dawn know where "down" is?

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/01/30 01:23 CST

Dawn Journal: How does Dawn know where "down" is?

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The Dawn spacecraft, modeled in an unlikely medium

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/17 02:04 CST | 3 comments

The Dawn spacecraft, modeled in an unlikely medium

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Dawn Journal: The Om of orbit adjustment

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/01/09 03:53 CST

The Dawn mission's Project System Engineer Marc Rayman reports that Dawn concluded 2011 more than 40 thousand times nearer to Vesta than it began the year. It is now at its lowest altitude of the mission, conducting a detailed exploration of the protoplanet and continuing to make new discoveries.

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Notes on Dawn at Vesta from the 2011 American Geophysical Union meeting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/08 03:19 CST

A report on the press briefing and talks from the Fall 2011 American Geophyisical Union meeting about the data on Vesta collected so far by Dawn.

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Dawn Journal: Riding gravitational currents to LAMO

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/12/01 04:05 CST

In this update on the Dawn mission, project system engineer Marc Rayman reports that the probe is headed for its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO), where it will focus on making a census of the atomic constituents and on mapping the gravity field in order to determine Vesta's interior structure.

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Dawn Journal: HAMO successfully completed, LAMO ahead

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/11/03 01:48 CDT

Dawn has completed another wonderfully successful phase of its exploration of Vesta, studying it in unprecedented detail during the past month.

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What do Dawn's color ratio images of Vesta mean?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/01 07:58 CDT

The Dawn mission to Vesta continues to release an image every day, and recently they have been releasing lots of color images. I like color pictures for aesthetic reasons, but color is actually a very important property of planetary surfaces.

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Science from Vesta at the Geological Society of America meeting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/24 05:55 CDT

I'm nearly two weeks late getting to this news but better late than never, right? There was a press briefing from the Dawn mission at the Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting on October 12.

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Lovely pic of a recent crater on Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/11 08:28 CDT

With little fanfare, the Dawn mission continues releasing a new picture from Vesta every day. This one is definitely my favorite among their recent releases, a closeup on one of Vesta's strange streaky bright craters.

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Some first impressions of EPSC-DPS meeting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/03 11:55 CDT

Today they turned on the scientific fire hose at the Division of Planetary Sciences / European Planetary Science Congress meeting happening here in Nantes, France. My brain already feels full and I still have four more days!

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