Monday, January 19, 2015

NASA Dawn Spacecraft captures new images of CERES craters

The Dawn spacecraft observed Ceres for an hour on Jan. 13, 2015, from a distance of 238,000 miles (383,000 kilometers). 

A little more than half of its surface was observed at a resolution of 27 pixels. 

This animated GIF shows bright and dark features. 


Latest image from Nasa's Dawn Spacecraft showing the craters on Ceres.

Credit: NASA

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has entered an approach phase in which it will continue to close in on Ceres, a Texas-sized dwarf planet never before visited by a spacecraft.

Dawn launched in 2007 and is scheduled to enter Ceres orbit in March 2015.

Dawn recently emerged from solar conjunction, in which the spacecraft is on the opposite side of the sun, limiting communication with antennas on Earth.

Now that Dawn can reliably communicate with Earth again, mission controllers have programmed the maneuvers necessary for the next stage of the rendezvous, which they label the Ceres approach phase.

Dawn is currently 400,000 miles (640,000 kilometers) from Ceres, approaching it at around 450 miles per hour (725 kilometers per hour).

The spacecraft's arrival at Ceres will mark the first time that a spacecraft has ever orbited two solar system targets.

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