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A Spin Through the Inner Solar System

Bill Dunford • February 24, 2014

Animated maps of the planets show the spheres in motion.

Dawn Journal: Onward to Ceres

Marc Rayman • February 01, 2014

The majority of Dawn's time in the Ceres approach phase will be devoted to continuing ion-powered flight. Let’s take another look at how this remarkable technology is used to deliver the adventurer to the desired orbit around Ceres.

Dawn Journal: Planning for the Ceres Approach Phase

Marc Rayman • January 01, 2014

Now more than halfway through its journey from protoplanet Vesta to dwarf planet Ceres, Dawn is continuing to use its advanced ion propulsion system to reshape its orbit around the sun. Now that the ship is closer to the uncharted shores ahead than the lands it unveiled astern, we will begin looking at the plans for exploring another alien world.

What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Dawn Journal: Equidistant from Vesta and Ceres

Marc Rayman • December 06, 2013

Gliding smoothly through the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Dawn continues to make good progress on its ambitious mission of exploration. It is patiently but persistently pursuing Ceres, the second destination on its interplanetary itinerary.

Dawn Journal: Thrusting Toward Ceres

Marc Rayman • November 03, 2013

Deep in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Dawn is continuing its smooth, silent flight toward dwarf planet Ceres. Far behind it now is the giant protoplanet Vesta, which the spacecraft transformed from a tiny splotch in the night sky to an exotic and richly detailed world.

Dawn Journal: Sixth anniversary of leaving Earth

Marc Rayman • September 28, 2013

On the sixth anniversary of leaving Earth to embark on a daring deep-space expedition, Dawn is very, very far from its erstwhile planetary residence. Now humankind's only permanent resident of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the seasoned explorer is making good progress toward the largest object in that part of the solar system, the mysterious dwarf planet Ceres.

Mission Leader Bruce Jakosky's MAVEN Prepares for Mars

Mat Kaplan • September 17, 2013

Pay attention! This Mars orbiter, headed for launch in November, is a terrific science mission, as Mat Kaplan learned in a recent workshop, and in this week's Planetary Radio.

Two new ways to browse Vesta: 2. Vesta Image data browser

Emily Lakdawalla • September 16, 2013

A few weeks ago I received an email pointing me to a really cool new map-based browser to Dawn's Vesta image data.

Two new ways to browse Vesta: 1. Vesta Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO) Atlas

Emily Lakdawalla • September 16, 2013

Last week was the European Planetary Science Congress in London, and there's been a lot of science news. One thing that caught my eye Friday was the publication of a new atlas for Vesta.

Dawn Journal: Distant interplanetary adventurer

Marc Rayman • August 30, 2013

Traveling confidently and alone, Dawn continues to make its way through the silent depths of the main asteroid belt. The interplanetary adventurer is on its long journey to the uncharted dwarf planet Ceres, by far the largest of all asteroids.

Producing global views of Vesta from archival data

Björn Jónsson • August 21, 2013

Björn Jónsson produces beautiful color and 3D global mosaics of Vesta from Dawn's archival data.

Dawn Journal: Craving Power

Marc Rayman • July 30, 2013

Ion propulsion is not a source of power for Dawn. Rather, the craft needs a great deal of power to operate its ion propulsion system and all other systems. It needs so much that...we crave power!!

Dawn Journal: Breaking Velocity Records

Marc Rayman • July 02, 2013

The indefatigable Dawn spacecraft is continuing its extraordinary interplanetary flight on behalf of inquisitive creatures on distant Earth. Progressing ever farther from Vesta, the rocky and rugged world it so recently explored, the ship is making good progress toward its second port of call, dwarf planet Ceres.

Worlds in Collision

Bill Dunford • June 25, 2013

Meet some worlds that were nearly shattered, literally.

Dawn Journal: Thrusting to a new personal best

Marc Rayman • June 02, 2013

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.

Dawn Journal: A low-orbit shortcut to Ceres

Marc Rayman • May 02, 2013

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn Journal explains why Dawn is currently closer to the Sun than both Ceres and Vesta.

Dawn Journal: Staying warm en route to Ceres

Marc Rayman • March 30, 2013

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn journal explains the temperature adjustments engineers make to save power and keep the spacecraft warm.

Dawn Journal: Revisiting orbital mechanics

Marc Rayman • March 01, 2013

Now that Dawn has changed its speed by nearly eight kilometers per second, Marc Rayman revisits the concept of orbital velocity.

Dawn Journal: Vesta's Mountains, Gorges and Craters

Marc Rayman • January 31, 2013

As Dawn continues thrusting toward Ceres, Marc takes a look back at the intrepid spacecraft's discoveries.

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