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Blogs

Dawn Journal

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

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

Since the last log, the robotic explorer Dawn has devoted most of its time to its two primary scientific objectives in this phase of the mission.

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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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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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Dawn Journal: Fourth year in space, and arrival in HAMO

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/09/29 08:12 CDT

Dawn's fourth anniversary of being in space is very different from its previous ones. Indeed, those days all were devoted to reaching the distant destination the ship is now exploring. Celebrating its anniversary of leaving Earth, Dawn is in orbit around a kindred terrestrial-type world, the ancient protoplanet Vesta.

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Dawn Journal: Spiraling Down from Survey Orbit

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/09/02 11:39 CDT

Dawn has completed the first phase of its exploration of Vesta with tremendous success, and the peripatetic adventurer is now in powered flight again, on its way to a new location from which to scrutinize its subject.

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Dawn Journal: In Survey Orbit (belatedly)

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/08/29 09:11 CDT

Dawn is now beginning intensive observations of the alien world it orbits. The approach phase, which began on May 3 is complete. Today Dawn is in its survey orbit around Vesta.

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Dawn Journal: Dawn has arrived!

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/07/26 11:55 CDT

After covering 2.8 billion kilometers (1.7 billion miles) on its own, after traveling for nearly four years through the lonely emptiness of interplanetary space, after being bound by the gravity only of the sun, Dawn is finally in orbit around Vesta.

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Dawn Journal: Closing in on Vesta

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/06/27 11:19 CDT

Vesta beckons, and Dawn responds. Now more than halfway through its approach to Vesta, Dawn continues creeping up on the destination it has been pursuing since it began its interplanetary travels.

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Dawn Journal: Vesta to choose Dawn's arrival time

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/05/30 12:52 CDT

Dawn remains healthy and on course as it continues to approach Vesta. Thrusting with its ion propulsion system, as it has for most of its interplanetary journey so far, the spacecraft is gradually matching its solar orbit to that of the protoplanet just ahead.

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