Dawn's next two science orbits around Ceres

Dawn's next two science orbits around Ceres
Dawn's next two science orbits around Ceres The two solid ellipses illustrate the relative sizes of Dawn's next two science orbits around Ceres. The outer one is XMO6, which is the inner orbit in the figure above. (As in that figure, the spacecraft orbits counterclockwise here, and sunlight comes from the right.) After completing its work in XMO6 in May, Dawn will set sail for its final orbit, XMO7. The dashed circle represents Dawn's lowest orbit so far, LAMO/XMO1. It demonstrates that XMO7 is low! But assuming the absence of tall trees (or giant Cerean spiders), the operations team will be prepared to pilot the spacecraft safely. Dawn complies with planetary protection protocols, which prohibit coming in contact with Ceres, even for decades after the mission concludes. XMO7 is also shown in the figure below. NASA / JPL-Caltech

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