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Dawn Journal

Dawn Journal: Saluting the Sun

Marc Rayman • March 29, 2012

On April 18, Dawn will attain its greatest separation yet from Earth, nearly 520 million kilometers. Well beyond Mars, fewer than a dozen spacecraft have ever operated so far from Earth.

Dawn Journal: Bonus time at low altitude

Marc Rayman • February 29, 2012

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

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

Marc Rayman • January 30, 2012

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.

Dawn Journal: The Om of Orbit Adjustment

Marc Rayman • January 09, 2012

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.

Dawn Journal: Riding gravitational currents to LAMO

Marc Rayman • December 01, 2011

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.

Dawn Journal: HAMO successfully completed, LAMO ahead

Marc Rayman • November 03, 2011

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

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

Marc Rayman • September 29, 2011

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.

Dawn Journal: Spiraling Down from Survey Orbit

Marc Rayman • September 02, 2011

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.

Dawn Journal: In Survey Orbit (belatedly)

Marc Rayman • August 29, 2011

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.

Dawn Journal: Dawn has arrived!

Marc Rayman • July 26, 2011

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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