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Blog Archive


Dawn Journal: Getting Warmer, Farther from the Sun?

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/09/02 02:34 CDT

Dawn is now so far from the sun that even with its tremendous solar arrays, it does not receive enough sunlight to generate sufficient electrical power to operate all systems and still achieve maximum thrust.

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Dawn Journal: A Year from Vesta

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/07/28 12:10 CDT

Dawn is flying smoothly through the asteroid belt, now less than a year from entering orbit around Vesta, the first of its two cosmic destinations.

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Dawn Journal: Dawn 9.0

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/06/30 08:24 CDT

A new version of the Dawn spacecraft is continuing the ambitious journey through the asteroid belt to uncharted distant worlds.

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Dawn Journal: Surveying Vesta

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/06/01 11:41 CDT

After more than 2.5 years of spaceflight, and more than 6 months in the asteroid belt, Dawn's interplanetary journey continues smoothly.

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Dawn Journal: Matching Paces with Vesta

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2010/05/02 11:01 CDT

Dawn remains on course and on schedule for its appointments with Vesta and Ceres, colossal protoplanets in the main asteroid belt.

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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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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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