Another NASA spacecraft runs out of steam, 2nd this week

Mindy Sparks
November 5, 2018

This ends the spacecraft's 11-year mission, which sent it on a 4.3 billion-mile journey to two of the largest objects in our solar system's main asteroid belt.

Once the spacecraft lost the scheduled communication with NASA's Deep Space Network for two times on Wednesday and Thursday, the U.S. space agency officially declared the mission as "ended".

"The unbelievable images and data Dawn collected from Vesta and Ceres are fundamental to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system", he said.

Launched 27 September 2007, the Dawn machine was created to study the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. Strict planetary protection protocols govern how NASA can dispose of crafts like Dawn, as they do not want to interfere with the chemistry on Ceres.

Dawn was 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. Currently, it's in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, where it will remain for decades.

Another NASA mission came to an end after just a few days after the announcement of the shutdown of the telescope "Kepler". "The demands we made on Dawn were tremendous, but she always faced the challenge". Before joining Sun Star Times Andy has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN and the Huffington Post.


In 2015, when Dawn went into orbit around Ceres, a dwarf planet that is also the largest world in the asteroid belt, the mission became the first to visit a dwarf planet and go into orbit around two destinations beyond Earth, it said.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the NASA science mission directorate in Washington, hailed Dawn's "vital science" and "incredible technical achievements". Based on the data from the Dawn mission, scientists were also able to confirm that Vesta is the parent object the of howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorites found on Earth.

"In many ways, Dawn's legacy is just beginning", Principal Investigator Carol Raymond at JPL said.

Dawn produced a complete map of the surface of Ceres and discovered ice volcanoes. "Dawn's data sets will be deeply mined by scientists working on how planets grow and differentiate, and when and where life could have formed in our solar system".

The Dawn mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with spacecraft components contributed by European partners from Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. The craft will continue to orbit Ceres for at least 20 years, though many on the team put that number closer to 50.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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