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Blog Archive

 

Dawn Journal: It's Just a Phase

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/03/30 12:43 CDT

Our interplanetary adventurer still has a great deal of ion thrusting to complete before it can begin its orbital exploration of Vesta next year.

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Dawn Journal: Forever Farther From Earth Than the Sun

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/02/26 09:14 CST

Pushing ever farther into space, deeper into the asteroid belt, Dawn is continuing to progress smoothly on its solar system journey.

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Dawn Journal: Thruster Two's Time to Shine

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/02/10 01:14 CST

Dawn is outfitted with three ion thrusters, assigned the heartwarming names thruster #1, thruster #2, and thruster #3.

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Dawn Journal: Patiently Accelerating

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/01/05 02:51 CST

Dawn usually interrupts ion thrusting once a week for about eight hours to point its main antenna to Earth. On November 30, however, instead of resuming thrusting, it dutifully followed different instructions that were stored onboard.

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What's up in the solar system in January 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/04 01:29 CST

While we don't have Moon bases, we do have plenty of spacecraft. Before I get into my more detailed look at the activities of the 20-odd spacecraft wandering about the solar system, I thought I'd look ahead to 2010 more generally and see what the year has in store for us.

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Dawn Journal: In the Asteroid Belt, but Far from Asteroids

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/12/01 11:22 CST

Dawn entered the main asteroid belt on November 13. As it ventures ever deeper into this vast collection of material between Mars and Jupiter, it may be tempting to think of the spacecraft constantly dodging asteroids.

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Dawn Journal: Taking Up Residence in the Asteroid Belt

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/11/02 11:32 CST

Dawn has devoted another month to thrusting with its ion propulsion system, ever with its sights set on its rendezvous with Vesta in July 2011.

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Dawn Journal: Good Performance Means a Longer Stay at Vesta!

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/09/28 03:23 CDT

Dawn is celebrating the second anniversary of leaving its home planet by engaging in the same function it has performed most of its time in space: with the utmost patience, it is using its ion propulsion system to gradually modify its orbit around the Sun.

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Dawn Journal: Earth Catches Up

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/09/02 12:53 CDT

As Dawn continues its long solar system journey to match orbits with Vesta and later with Ceres, some readers may note a surprising trend in the statistics for the mission.

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Dawn Journal: Quiet Cruise

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/07/31 05:47 CDT

Today Dawn is 220 million kilometers (137 million miles) from the star at the solar system's center.

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Dawn Journal: Testing Flight Software 8.0

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/05/27 07:11 CDT

Dawn's mission continues to go very well, as the spacecraft nears the end of the longest coasting period of its astronomical journey.

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Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Posted by Alan Stern on 2009/05/18 03:56 CDT

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

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Dawn Journal: Upgrades!

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/04/29 05:52 CDT

The upgraded Dawn spacecraft is now traveling in a new direction in its orbit around the Sun.

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Dawn Journal: Safe Without Safe Mode

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/04/06 12:45 CDT

Perhaps what is most noteworthy and satisfying since the last log is not what Dawn did, but rather what it did not do.

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Dawn Journal: Safely Past Mars

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/03/09 05:47 CDT

Dawn swooped close to Mars and then left it behind on a new course, having taken advantage of Mars's gravity.

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Looks like the Dawn flyby of Mars went well

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/02/21 11:10 CST

Looks like the Dawn flyby of Mars went well: here' a photo of Mars taken by Dawn near its closest approach to Mars during its February 17 flyby.

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Dawn Journal: Mars Encounter

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/02/13 10:34 CST

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.

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Dawn Journal: Just Missing the Bull's Eye at Mars

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/01/30 10:51 CST

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.

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Dawn Journal: Conjunction Junction

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2009/01/05 11:10 CST

Having fulfilled all of its assignments for 2008, the Dawn spacecraft has been unusually quiescent recently.

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Dawn Journal: Aiming Away From a Bull's Eye at Mars

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2008/11/30 10:12 CST

The Dawn spacecraft is healthy and on course for its flyby of Mars early next year. The planet's gravity will help boost the probe on its way to rendezvous with Vesta.

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