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Mission Dawn
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Summary
In the summer of 2007, a Delta II rocket carried the Dawn spacecraft beyond earth’s and out into the solar system. Its target, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Specifically, the asteroid Vesta (arrival estimated between 2010-2011) and the asteroid Ceres (arrival estimated in 2015).
The asteroid belt is the “bone yard” of material, fragments of explosions of planetary embryos, perhaps, or material that has come in to the solar system and been captured. Vesta is the brightest asteroid in the solar system, and the only one visible to the naked eye. It’s got an iron core, like the earth does, and it may have had many of the processes that the earth has.
The three science instruments on Dawn will work together to tell scientists about the surfaces of the body, which will enable scientists to extrapolate back to their creation. Scientists believe Ceres represents a transition from the rocky terrestrial planets of the inner solar system, to the gaseous icy worlds of the outer solar system. To accomplish this journey, Dawn is powered by an ion engine. With this propulsion, Dawn will be the first spacecraft ever to orbit two distant bodies.
Keywords: NASA, Project Dawn, Planet X, Niburu, Ceres, liquid water, ion engines, Vesta, Marc Rayman
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