What did NASA's Dawn discover on Ceres?
NASA's Dawn mission finished in 2017. What did it discover while in orbit around Ceres?
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A Look Back at the DAWN Mission | Dr. Marc Rayman | All Space Considered at Griffith Observatory
Dr. Marc Rayman joins All Space Considered to talk about NASA's DAWN mission, the first mission to orbit two bodies of the asteroid belt. He shares DAWN's incredible findings about two of our solar system's dwarf planets, Ceres and Vesta. Subscribe now for more All Space Considered clips: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=griffithobservatory All Space Considered is Griffith Observatory’s live science program that is free and open to the public, held the first Friday of every month. Watch All Space Considered videos: https://www.youtube.com/griffithobservatory Learn more about All Space Considered on our official site: http://griffithobservatory.org/asc/all_space.html Follow All Space Considered on SOCIAL MEDIA:
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Goodbye to Dawn and Kepler, 8K video from Space and Soyuz FailureInvestigation - Orbit 11.43
We tweaked the roundtable news format a bit. Still working on timing for this as clearly we're going suuuuuuuper long. But fun nonetheless. Lisa, Mike, Cariann, Jared and Benjamin nerd out over the latest comic happenings while interacting with the community! Would love your feedback and what we're doing right and wrong here. Launch Minute:
Zhuque-1 | Weilai-1
Long March 2C | CFOSat
H-IIA | GOSAT-2
Long March 3B | Beidou-3 G1Q/GEO-1 Space News:
First 8K footage from space
Goodbye Dawn, Goodbye Kepler
Investigation completed on the Soyuz MS-10 launch failure
Science at 28163 km per hour - ISS Science Update
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Dusk for Dawn, NASA's Mission to the Asteroid Belt
The mission has ended for NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, but the science lives on. Dawn was an intrepid explorer of the asteroid belt and the first mission to orbit two worlds beyond Earth: https://go.nasa.gov/2zl1Y5T. For more info on the mission, visit https://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov
NASA's Dawn Mission Nears the End
After 11 years of 🌌breathtaking imagery, ⚙️unprecedented feats of engineering & 🛰️spacecraft records broken — it’s nearly time to bid farewell to NASA's Dawn spacecraft as it comes to the expected end of the mission. Learn about its final orbits at Ceres: https://go.nasa.gov/dawnfinale
NASA Dawn: Approaching End of Mission
After gathering breathtaking imagery, performing unprecedented feats of spacecraft engineering and breaking records, it’s nearly time to say farewell to NASA Dawn, a first-of-its-kind mission that visited two diverse planet-like worlds in the main asteroid belt.
Keep up with Dawn as it performs its final orbits at dwarf planet Ceres: http://www.nasa.gov/dawn
Dawn: Mission to Small Worlds
Original air date: Friday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET, 1800 UTC) Join JPL for a Science Chat to talk about the role of the agency's Dawn spacecraft in studying the beginning of our solar system, and the approaching end of its 11-year mission. Participants include: Jim Green, NASA chief scientist
Carol Raymond, Dawn principal investigator at JPL
Marc Rayman, Dawn mission director and chief engineer at JPL Follow us on your favorite social media platforms for updates @NASAJPL.
Dawn Spacecraft Buzzes Largest Asteroid - Final Orbits.
The Dawn spacecraft has moved to its final orbit, an orbit which will bring it down to 35km from the surface of Ceres. It's being placed in this orbit to collect better data from its Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector instrument to give scientist a better understanding of the chemistry.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft reveals amazing close-ups of Ceres - Daily Mail
Nasa's Dawn spacecraft has dipped closer than ever to Ceres, capturing the most detailed images yet of the mysterious bright spots on the dwarf planet. The latest images capture two giant craters up close, called Haulani (pictured) and Oxo. They show evidence the impacts that formed them are fresh - and even show the giant landslides at the crater's rim they caused. Original Article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3548842/The-strange-glowing-spots-Ceres-close-Researchers-reveal-craters-recent-evidence-giant-landslides.html
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New Findings From NASA's Dawn Mission at Dwarf Planet Ceres
More than 300 bright spots have been located on the surface of Ceres. Scientists with NASA's Dawn mission say the bright material indicates the dwarf planet is an active, evolving world.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Debra Buczkowski, Co-Investigator
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Debra Buczkowski, Dawn Mission Co-Investigator, talks about what has inspired her to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Jennifer Scully, Ceres Science Collaborator
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Jennifer Scully, Ceres Science Collaborator, talks about what has inspired her to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview--Eleonora Ammannito, Co-Investigator
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Eleonora Ammannito, Dawn Mission Co-Investigator, talks about what has inspired her to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Kynan Hughson, Ceres Science Collaborator
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Kynan Hughson, Ceres Science Collaborator, talks about what has inspired him to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Francesca Zambon, Visible & Infrared Spectrometer Team
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Francesca Zambon, Visible & Infrared Spectrometer (VIR) team member, talks about what has inspired her to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Heather Chilton, Ceres Science Collaborator
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Heather Chilton, Ceres Science Collaborator, talks about what has inspired her to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Tom Prettyman, Co-Investigator
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Tom Prettyman, Dawn Mission Co-Investigator, talks about what has inspired him to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Paul Schenk, Participating Scientist
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Paul Schenk, Dawn Mission Participating Scientist, talks about what has inspired him to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Lucy McFadden, Co-Investigator
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Lucy McFadden, Dawn Mission Co-Investigator, talks about what has inspired her to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Mission Interview: Britney Schmidt, Dawn Participating Scientist
This interview was taped at the Geological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado in September, 2016. Britney Schmidt, Dawn Mission Participating Scientist and Assistant Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, talks about what has inspired her to be a scientist, and how the Dawn mission has helped us understand more about the two largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.
What We've Learned from the Dawn Mission So Far
The Dawn spacecraft has been exploring the two largest objects in the asteroid belt since 2007, and here's what we've learned so far! ----------
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Dark Hill on Asteroid Vesta
This video includes images from NASA's Dawn framing camera instrument. The hill is about 26 miles (42.5 kilometers) long by about 17 miles (28 kilometers wide), and appears to be sculpted by impact craters. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI
Advanced Propulsion for JPL Deep Space Missions
JPL's Dawn mission is en route to rendezvous with the main-belt asteroids Vesta and Ceres, and is using ion propulsion to get there.
March 10, 2011-This video shows the scientists' best guess to date of what the surface of the protoplanet Vesta might look like. It was created as part of an exercise for NASA's Dawn mission involving mission planners at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and science team members at the German Aerospace Center and the Planetary Science Institute.
Vesta's Surface Comes into View
Scientists working with NASA's Dawn spacecraft have created a new video showing the giant asteroid Vesta as the spacecraft approaches this unexplored world in the main asteroid belt. The video loops 20 images obtained for navigation purposes on June 1. The images show a dark feature near Vesta's equator moving from left to right across the field of view as Vesta rotates. Images also show Vesta's jagged, irregular shape, hinting at the enormous crater known to exist at Vesta's south pole. The images were obtained by a framing camera during a 30-minute period and show about 30 degrees of a rotation. The pixel size in these images is approaching the resolution of the best Hubble Space Telescope images of Vesta. "Like strangers in a strange land, we're looking for familiar landmarks," said Jian-Yang Li, a Dawn participating scientist from the University of Maryland, College Park. "The shadowy spot is one of those -- it appears to match a feature, known as 'Feature B,' from images of Vesta taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope." Before orbiting Vesta on July 16, Dawn will gently slow down to about 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour). NASA is expecting to release more images on a weekly basis, with more frequent images available once the spacecraft begins collecting science at Vesta. "Vesta is coming more and more into focus," said Andreas Nathues, framing camera lead investigator, based at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany. "Dawn's framing camera is working exactly as anticipated." credit: NASA / JPL source: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.c... http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov
What's Up for July 2011
Vesta and Ceres reside in the boundary area of the asteroid belt, where the composition of bodies changes from being almost dry to showing the effects of hydration.
Vesta is the only asteroid bright enough to see with your unaided eye, because of its high albedo.
Ceres, though larger than Vesta, is farther away and not as bright.
You can easily spot Ceres in your telescopes
Soar Over Asteroid Vesta in 3 D
Soar over the giant asteroid Vesta in 3-D. Put on your 3-D glasses for this ride over asteroid Vesta.
View this beautiful visualization of the Dawn spacecraft on its journey to the main asteroid belt to Asteroid Vesta and Dwarf Planet Ceres
Asteroid Vesta's Coat of Many Colors
This animation of Vesta is made from images taken with Dawn's framing camera. Many of the images were taken at different viewing angles to provide stereo for use in determining the topography.
Whats Up? February 3, 2014
See all the planets, plus mission updates from comet and asteroid missions Dawn and Rosetta.
The Dawn mission is on its way to orbit the dwarf planet Ceres in 2015. Recently, observations by the Herschel Space Observatory found that Ceres has a thin water vapor atmosphere and is spewing jets of water out into space.
Destination Dwarf Planet: Dawn Approaches Ceres
NASA's Dawn mission will be the first to explore a dwarf planet on March 6, 2015. This video details the spacecraft's approach and orbit insertion.
Circling Occator Crater on Ceres
This animation, made using data from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows the topography of Occator crater on Ceres.
Vertical relief has been stretched by a factor of 1.5 to better illustrate the crater's topography.
See more Dawn images at http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images.
The von Kármán Lecture Series: Dawn’s Mission to the Asteroid Belt
A Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series talk, held December 4 and 5 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, addressed the ambitious and exciting mission of the Dawn spacecraft, one of NASA's most remarkable ventures into the solar system. After more than seven years of interplanetary spaceflight, which included a spectacular exploration of the asteroid Vesta, the Dawn probe is just a few months away from the mysterious world, Ceres. Ceres and Vesta are two of the most massive residents of the main asteroid belt, that vast collection of bodies between Mars and Jupiter. Dr. Marc Rayman, Dawn Project Mission Director, is the featured speaker.
NASAs Dawn Spacecraft Flight Over Occator Crater
Published on Dec 15, 2016 This video shows the intriguing Occator Crater on Ceres, home to the dwarf planet's brightest area. It may have been produced by upwelling of salt-rich liquids after the impact that formed the crater. The animated flyover includes topographic and enhanced-color views of the crater, highlighting the central dome feature. The animation was produced by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Original music by Stefan Elgner, DLR. For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov . Image Credit:
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft: Flight Over Occator Crater on Dwarf Planet Ceres
This video shows the intriguing Occator Crater on Ceres, home to the dwarf planet's brightest area. It may have been produced by upwelling of salt-rich liquids after the impact that formed the crater. The animated flyover includes topographic and enhanced-color views of the crater, highlighting the central dome feature. The animation was produced by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Original music by Stefan Elgner, DLR. For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov . Image Credit:
NASA's Dawn Mission -- Using Ion Propulsion to Explore New Worlds
NASA's Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial targets. The was honored with the National Aeronautic Association Robert J. Collier Trophy on Thursday, June 9, 2016,
"In recognition of the extraordinary achievements of orbiting and exploring protoplanet Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, and advancing the nation's technological capabilities in pioneering new frontiers in space travel."
Ceres Missing Large Craters
Ceres' lack of giant impact basins presents a puzzle to scientists. They expected to observe more large craters on the dwarf planet than have been found by NASA's Dawn mission. Researchers are investigating a variety of processes that might have caused the appearance of the largest basins to be softened or erased over time. For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/
NASA's Dawn Mission (live public talk)
Original air date: July 14, 2016. 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET, 0200 UTC) The Dawn mission, launched in September 2007, is the only spacecraft ever to orbit two destinations beyond Earth, and the only to orbit an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn completed an exploration of Vesta in 2011-2012 and arrived in orbit around Ceres in 2015. Remnants from the time that planets were formed, Ceres and Vesta hold clues that will help scientists understand the origins of the solar system. Marc Rayman gave a presentation on the Dawn mission and its use of ion propulsion, as well as its two exotic destinations. For more on the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/. For more on JPL's von Karman lecture series, please see http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures.php. Speaker:
Marc Rayman, Mission Director and Chief Engineer, Dawn Mission, JPL
NASA's Asteroid-Orbiting Probe Might Get One Final Mission - Newsy
NASA's Asteroid-Orbiting Probe Might Get One Final Mission Sources:
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NASA DAWN PROBE ORBIT AROUND DWARF PLANET 'CERES'
CNN's Jonathan Mann reports NASA's Dawn probe is now the first spacecraft to orbit a dwarf planet Ceres. To License This Clip, Click Here: http://collection.cnn.com/content/clip/370258905_001.do
Dawn made history last year as the first mission to reach a dwarf planet, and the first to orbit two distinct extraterrestrial targets -- both of them in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The mission conducted extensive observations of Vesta during its 14-month orbit there in 2011-2012. "We're excited to unveil these beautiful new images, especially Occator, which illustrate the complexity of the processes shaping Ceres' surface. Now that we can see Ceres’ enigmatic bright spots, surface minerals and morphology in high resolution, we're busy working to figure out what processes shaped this unique dwarf planet. By comparing Ceres with Vesta, we'll glean new insights about the early solar system," said Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator for the Dawn mission, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov
Flight Over Dwarf Planet Ceres
Published on Jan 29, 2016
Take a flight over dwarf planet Ceres in this video made with images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The simulated flyover was made by the mission's camera team at Germany's national aeronautics and space research center (DLR).
Ceres Rotation and Occator Crater
Dwarf planet Ceres is shown in these false-color renderings, which highlight differences in surface materials. Images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft were used to create a movie of Ceres rotating, followed by a flyover view of Occator Crater, home of Ceres’ brightest area. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
NASA: Unveiling Ceres
Original air date: Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET, 0200 UTC) Prior to the Dawn spacecraft's arrival in early 2015, dwarf planet Ceres was the largest unexplored world in the inner solar system. Highlights from the mission's first science orbits will be presented. Bringing you the BEST Space and Astronomy videos online. Showcasing videos and images from the likes of NASA,ESA,Hubble etc. Join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spaceisamazing Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmazingSpace2 Google+ : http://goo.gl/1WCBn9
Dawn (spacecraft) - Video Learning - WizScience.com
""Dawn"" is a space probe launched by NASA in September 2007 with the mission of studying two of the three known protoplanets of the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres. It is currently in orbit about its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres. "Dawn" is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies, the first spacecraft to visit either Vesta or Ceres, and also the first to visit a dwarf planet, arriving at Ceres in March 2015, a few months before "New Horizons" flew by Pluto in July 2015. "Dawn" entered Vesta orbit on July 16, 2011, and completed a 14-month survey mission before leaving for Ceres in late 2012. "Dawn" entered Ceres orbit on March 6, 2015, and is predicted to remain in orbit perpetually after the conclusion of its mission. The "Dawn" mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with spacecraft components contributed by European partners from the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. It is the first NASA exploratory mission to use ion propulsion, which enabled it to enter and leave the orbit of multiple celestial bodies. Previous multi-target missions using conventional drives, such as the "Voyager" program, were restricted to flybys. The first working ion thruster was built by Harold R. Kaufman in 1959 at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio. The thruster was similar to the general design of a gridded electrostatic ion thruster with mercury as its fuel. Suborbital tests of the engine followed during the 1960s, and in 1964 the engine was tested on a suborbital flight aboard the Space Electric Rocket Test 1 . It successfully operated for the planned 31 minutes before falling back to Earth. This test was followed by an orbital test, SERT-2, in 1970. Deep Space 1 , which NASA launched in 1998, demonstrated the long-duration use of an ion thruster on a science mission, and validated a number of technologies, including the NSTAR electrostatic ion thruster, as well as performing a flyby of an asteroid and a comet. Among the other technologies validated by the DS1 was the Small Deep Space Transponder, which is used on "Dawn" for long-range communication. Wiz Science™ is "the" learning channel for children and all ages.
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Tour Weird Ceres: Bright Spots and a Pyramid-Shaped Mountain
Striking 3-D detail highlights a towering mountain, the brightest spots and other features on dwarf planet Ceres in a new video from NASA's Dawn mission.
A prominent mountain with bright streaks on its steep slopes is especially fascinating to scientists. The peak's shape has been likened to a cone or a pyramid. It appears to be about 4 miles (6 kilometers) high, with respect to the surface around it, according to the latest estimates. This means the mountain has about the same elevation as Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska, the highest point in North America.
Also puzzling is the famous Occator (oh-KAH-tor) crater, home to Ceres' brightest spots. A new animation simulates the experience of a close flyover of this area. The crater takes its name from the Roman agriculture deity of harrowing, a method of pulverizing and smoothing soil.
An animation of Ceres' overall geography, also available in 3-D, shows these features in context. Occator lies in the northern hemisphere, whereas the tall mountain is farther to the southeast (11 degrees south, 316 degrees east).
Dawn will resume its observations of Ceres in mid-August from an altitude of 900 miles (less than 1,500 kilometers), or three times closer to Ceres than its previous orbit.More information about Dawn, go to http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov
Fly Over Dwarf Planet Ceres
A new video animation of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, provides dramatic flyover views of this heavily cratered, mysterious world. The images come from Dawn's first mapping orbit at Ceres, at an altitude of 8,400 mile (13,600 kilometers), as well as navigational images taken from 3,200 miles (5,100 kilometers) away. The images provided information for a three-dimensional terrain model. The vertical dimension has been exaggerated by a factor of two, and a star field has been added in the background.
What Dawn Discovered on Vesta and Ceres
Dawn, the speedy ion-drive spacecraft, left Earth in 2007 bound for Vesta and Ceres in the Asteroid Belt. These are no ordinary asteroids. Scientists see them as tiny, still born planets. They sent Dawn out to fly around them, map them, and look for evidence that will transport them to very early days of our solar system. Music by Epidemic Sound (http://www.epidemicsound.com)
Ceres Topographic Globe Animation
This animation shows a color-coded map from NASA's Dawn mission revealing the highs and lows of topography on the surface of dwarf planet Ceres. The color scale extends 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) below the surface in purple to 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) above the surface in brown. The brightest features (those appearing nearly white) -- including the well-known bright spots within a crater in the northern hemisphere -- are simply reflective areas, and do not represent elevation. The topographic map was constructed from analyzing images from Dawn's framing camera taken from varying sun and viewing angles. The map was combined with an image mosaic of Ceres and projected onto a 3-D shape model of the dwarf planet to create the animation. For more images, go to
WRAP NASA's Dawn spacecraft rockets toward new double mission; comments
Cape Canaveral/Space - 27 Sept 2007
1. Wide of rocket and satellite on launch pad UPSOUND: (English) countdown
2. Wide of launch
3. Close of engines
4. Rocket carrying satellite goes out into space
27 Sept 2007
5. Animation of rocket going out into space, first stage of separation
6. Animation of second stage, satellite released from rocket
7. Various animation of satellite
Cape Canaveral, Florida - 27 September 2007
8. Wide shot of NASA panel
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Chris Russell, DAWN Principle Investigator, UCLA:
"The science team has already had a chance to look at some of the parameters from their instruments. We haven't checked them out but we do have things like temperatures and voltages and stuff like that. And the team has already received a shipment of that data and are going and looking at it and they're very, very pleased by what they see."
10. Wide shot of panel
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Keyur Patel - DAWN Project Manager:
"The third is the reaction control system. The brackets, not the lines or the thrusters, are running a little warm and they're starting to drop in temperature now so they may be equalising. And the third item is a minor difference in current between the two solar arrays, less then an amp."
12. Wide shot of panel
27 Sept 2007
13. Various, asteroid Vesta
NASA's spacecraft Dawn rocketed away on Thursday towards an unprecedented double encounter in the asteroid belt.
Scientists hope the mission will shed light on the early solar system by exploring the two largest bodies in the belt between Mars and Jupiter: an asteroid named Vesta and a dwarf planet the size of Texas named Ceres.
Dawn won't reach Vesta, its first stop, until 2011, and Ceres, its second and last stop, until 2015.
Chris Russell, DAWN Principle Investigator, said the team had already received a shipment of data from the spacecraft.
He said the team were going to study the data but so far, "they're very, very pleased by what they see."
Scientists chose the two targets not only because of their size but because they are so different from one another.
Vesta, about the length of the state of Arizona and not quite spherical, is dry and rocky, and appears to have a surface of frozen lava, the likely source of many meteorites reaching Earth.
Ceres, upgraded to a dwarf planet just last year, is nearly spherical, icy and may have frost-covered poles.
Both formed around the same time some 4-and-a-half (b) billion years ago.
Dawn's mission is the world's first attempt to journey to a celestial body and orbit it, then travel to another and circle it as well. Ion-propulsion engines, once confined to science fiction, are making it possible.
Dawn has cameras, an infrared spectrometer and a gamma ray and neutron detector to probe the surfaces of Vesta and Ceres from orbit.
It also has solar wings that measure nearly 65 feet from tip to tip, to generate power as it ventures farther from the sun.
Dawn has three ion engines providing a gentle yet increasingly accelerating thrust, as electrons bombard its modest supply of xenon gas, and sending ion particles shooting into space, to nudge the spacecraft forward.
Even "Star Wars" had only twin ion engines with its T.I.E. Fighters, the chief engineer noted with a smile earlier in the week.
The mission costs 357 (m) million US dollars excluding the unpublicised price of the Delta II launch rocket. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/a222ac11cdd134d981200a8211263666
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