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Dawn Journal

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.

Dawn Journal: Closing in on Vesta

Marc Rayman • June 27, 2011

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.

Dawn Journal: Vesta to choose Dawn's arrival time

Marc Rayman • May 30, 2011

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.

Dawn Journal: On the threshold of a new world

Marc Rayman • May 03, 2011

Dawn is on the threshold of a new world. After more than three and a half years of interplanetary travel covering in excess of 2.6 billion kilometers (1.6 billion miles), we are closing in on our first destination. Dawn is starting its approach to Vesta.

Dawn Journal: Calibrating instruments and thrusters on Vesta approach

Marc Rayman • April 07, 2011

Three and a half years after launch, Dawn continues its travels around the Sun, maneuvering to take the same orbital path as Vesta. The spacecraft has spent most of the past month gently thrusting with its ion propulsion system. Some of the thrusting this month, however, was not designed to propel Dawn to Vesta.

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