NASA’s Dawn starts its journey for Ceres

Continuing its mission, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has said goodbye to Vesta and now on the way to dwarf planet Ceres to find about our solar system.  NASA’s Dawn spacecraft was first spacecraft going to the orbit an object in asteroid belt in July 2011.  Here it spent one year to map the giant asteroid Vesta.

Artist concept showing spacecraft with Ceres and Vesta

NASA’s Dawn was launched on September 27, 2007 and NASA’s Deep Space Network has confirmed its departure from Vesta on September 4, 2012. To reach its first port, spacecraft took four year and now it is being expected to arrive at its second step of journey means Ceres in 2015.

The image taken before Dawn left Vesta

NASA’s Dawn departure from Vesta was not so amazing as it gently cross the giant orbit, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer and mission director said “a blue-green pillar of xenon ions was emitted from the ion propulsion system which generates power from electricity usage to ionize xenon.

In the first part of this mission Dawn disclosed some views about the giant asteroid.  As per detail provided by the Dawn the Vesta had melted in the past completely with layered body forming around iron core.  It is also disclosed in the report that in the last two billion there had survived two colossal impacts resulting in scratching its southern hemisphere.

An image taken from the last sequence

Christopher Russell, Dawn’s principal investigator said “We went to Vesta to fill in the blanks of our knowledge about the early history of our solar system, “Dawn has filled in those pages, and more, revealing to us how special Vesta is as a survivor from the earliest days of the solar system. We can now say with certainty that Vesta resembles a small planet more closely than a typical asteroid.”

Now it is being expected that around in 2.5 years Dawn will disclose something about Ceres.   About the period Dawn spent in orbiting Vesta, a video “greatest hits” is being celebrated.

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