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Old 07-07-2010, 04:45 PM   #16
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SpaceRef: "Dawn Journal: Dawn 9.0".
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:22 PM   #17
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Dawn Journal: A Year from Vesta".
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:03 PM   #18
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SPACE.com: "NASA Gears Up for Big Asteroid Encounter".

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Old 09-03-2010, 02:58 PM   #19
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Journal: Getting warmer, farther from the Sun"?

---------- Post added 3rd Sep 2010 at 03:58 PM ---------- Previous post was 2nd Sep 2010 at 10:24 PM ----------

Space Daily: "Dawn Throttles Down".
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:03 PM   #20
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Dawn Journal: Third anniversary in space, and how to map Vesta".
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:46 PM   #21
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Space Daily: "Dawn Makes Steady Progress".
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:42 PM   #22
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SpaceRef: "Orbital Environment for Dawn Spacecraft at Vesta".
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:18 PM   #23
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JPL: "NASA Mission to Asteroid Gets Help from Hubble".
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:58 AM   #24
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Dawn has an updated website:

http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:33 PM   #25
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Opens its Eyes, Checks its Instruments

March 21, 2011

After a hibernation of about six months, the framing cameras on board NASA's Dawn spacecraft have again ventured a look into the stars. The spacecraft also powered up its visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, which investigates surface mineralogy, and the gamma ray and neutron detector, which detects elemental composition. The reactivation prepares the instruments for the May approach and July arrival at Vesta, Dawn's first port of call in the asteroid belt.

"Last week, we gently 'woke up' Dawn's three science instruments, which typically spend most of their time sleeping during the three-and-a-half-year journey to Vesta," said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "This activity confirms that Dawn is on track for the first close examination of one of the last unexplored worlds of the inner solar system."

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These images of the star field demonstrate that the framing cameras on board NASA's Dawn spacecraft are functioning flawlessly.
Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The framing camera activities were led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany. "The camera system is working flawlessly. The dry run was a complete success," said Andreas Nathues, lead investigator for the framing camera, based at the Institute.

The international team of Dawn scientists and engineers in Germany and the United States spent three days interacting with the camera system, confirming the excellent health of the mechanical and electrical components and updating the software.

In the months to come, the camera system will provide images needed to navigate the spacecraft to its rendezvous with Vesta, and will begin to image the asteroid's surface. These early images on approach will be the start of a campaign to systematically map Vesta's surface in detail and will provide tantalizing clues as to its mineralogical composition. In addition, the framing cameras will search for moons in Vesta's vicinity and look for evidence of past volcanic activity.

The full release on the framing camera from Max Planck is available at: http://www.mps.mpg.de/en/aktuelles/p..._20110321.html.

{...}



Earlier news:
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:35 AM   #26
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Science@NASA: Dawn Approaches Asteroid Vesta:
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April 7, 2011: After 3 ½ years of thrusting silently through the void, NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on the threshold of a new world. It's deep in the asteroid belt, less than 4 months from giant asteroid Vesta.

"We're closing in," says Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission manager. "And I'm getting more excited every day!"

Dawn will enter orbit around Vesta in July 2011, becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit a body in the asteroid belt. After conducting a detailed study of the uncharted alien world for a year, the spacecraft will pull off an even more impressive first. It will leave Vesta, fly to dwarf planet Ceres, and enter orbit there.

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Old 05-05-2011, 12:53 PM   #27
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Reaches Milestone Approaching Asteroid Vesta

May 03, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached its official approach phase to the asteroid Vesta and will begin using cameras for the first time to aid navigation for an expected July 16 orbital encounter. The large asteroid is known as a protoplanet -- a celestial body that almost formed into a planet.

At the start of this three-month final approach to this massive body in the asteroid belt, Dawn is 1.21 million kilometers (752,000 miles) from Vesta, or about three times the distance between Earth and the moon. During the approach phase, the spacecraft's main activity will be thrusting with a special, hyper-efficient ion engine that uses electricity to ionize and accelerate xenon. The 12-inch-wide ion thrusters provide less thrust than conventional engines, but will provide propulsion for years during the mission and provide far greater capability to change velocity.

"We feel a little like Columbus approaching the shores of the New World," said Christopher Russell, Dawn principal investigator, based at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). "The Dawn team can't wait to start mapping this Terra Incognita."

Dawn previously navigated by measuring the radio signal between the spacecraft and Earth, and used other methods that did not involve Vesta. But as the spacecraft closes in on its target, navigation requires more precise measurements. By analyzing where Vesta appears relative to stars, navigators will pin down its location and enable engineers to refine the spacecraft's trajectory. Using its ion engine to match Vesta's orbit around the sun, the spacecraft will spiral gently into orbit around the asteroid. When Dawn gets approximately 16,000 kilometers (9,900 miles) from Vesta, the asteroid's gravity will capture the spacecraft in orbit.

"After more than three-and-a-half years of interplanetary travel, we are finally closing in on our first destination," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We're not there yet, but Dawn will soon bring into focus an entire world that has been, for most of the two centuries scientists have been studying it, little more than a pinpoint of light."

Scientists will search the framing camera images for possible moons around Vesta. None of the images from ground-based and Earth-orbiting telescopes have seen any moons, but Dawn will give scientists much more detailed images to determine whether small objects have gone undiscovered.

The gamma ray and neutron detector instrument also will gather information on cosmic rays during the approach phase, providing a baseline for comparison when Dawn is much closer to Vesta. Simultaneously, Dawn's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer will take early measurements to ensure it is calibrated and ready when the spacecraft enters orbit around Vesta.

Dawn's odyssey, which will take it on a journey of 4.8-billion kilometers (3-billion miles), began on Sept. 27, 2007, with its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It will stay in orbit around Vesta for one year. After another long cruise phase, Dawn will arrive at its second destination, an even more massive body in the asteroid belt, called Ceres, in 2015.

These two icons of the asteroid belt will help scientists unlock the secrets of our solar system's early history. The mission will compare and contrast the two giant bodies, which were shaped by different forces. Dawn's science instrument suite will measure surface composition, topography and texture. In addition, the Dawn spacecraft will measure the tug of gravity from Vesta and Ceres to learn more about their internal structures.

{...}




NASA JPL Blogs: Journal entry on approach phase

NASA Press Release: NASA Dawn Spacecraft Reaches Milestone Approaching Asteroid
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:48 PM   #28
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA's Dawn Captures First Image of Nearing Asteroid

May 11, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft has obtained its first image of the giant asteroid Vesta, which will help fine-tune navigation during its approach. Dawn is expected to achieve orbit around Vesta on July 16, when the asteroid is about 188 million kilometers (117 million miles) from Earth.

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This image shows the first, unprocessed image obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft of the giant asteroid Vesta in front of a background of stars.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
This image, processed to show the true size of the giant asteroid Vesta, shows Vesta in front of a spectacular background of stars.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA


The image from Dawn's framing cameras was taken on May 3 when the spacecraft began its approach and was approximately 1.21 million kilometers (752,000 miles) from Vesta. The asteroid appears as a small, bright pearl against a background of stars. Vesta is also known as a protoplanet, because it is a large body that almost formed into a planet.

"After plying the seas of space for more than a billion miles, the Dawn team finally spotted its target," said Carol Raymond, Dawn's deputy principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "This first image hints of detailed portraits to come from Dawn's upcoming visit."

Vesta is 530 kilometers (330 miles) in diameter and the second most massive object in the asteroid belt. Ground- and space-based telescopes obtained images of the bright orb for about two centuries, but with little surface detail.

Mission managers expect Vesta's gravity to capture Dawn in orbit on July 16. To enter orbit, Dawn must match the asteroid's path around the sun, which requires very precise knowledge of the body's location and speed. By analyzing where Vesta appears relative to stars in framing camera images, navigators will pin down its location and enable engineers to refine the spacecraft's trajectory.

Dawn will start collecting science data in early August at an altitude of approximately 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) above the asteroid's surface. As the spacecraft gets closer, it will snap multi-angle images, allowing scientists to produce topographic maps. Dawn will later orbit at approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) to perform other measurements and obtain closer shots of parts of the surface. Dawn will remain in orbit around Vesta for one year. After another long cruise phase, Dawn will arrive in 2015 at its second destination, Ceres, an even more massive body in the asteroid belt.

Gathering information about these two icons of the asteroid belt will help scientists unlock the secrets of our solar system's early history. The mission will compare and contrast the two giant bodies shaped by different forces. Dawn's science instruments will measure surface composition, topography and texture. Dawn will also measure the tug of gravity from Vesta and Ceres to learn more about their internal structures. The spacecraft's full odyssey will take it on a 5-billion-kilometer (3-billion-mile) journey, which began with its launch in September 2007.

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Old 06-13-2011, 08:09 PM   #29
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BBC has woke up:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13754423
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:22 PM   #30
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Captures Video on Approach to Asteroid Vesta

June 13, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. – 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.

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This movie shows surface details beginning to resolve as NASA's Dawn spacecraft closes in on the giant asteroid Vesta. The framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained the images used for this animation on June 1, 2011, from a distance of about 300,000 miles (483,000 kilometers).
Click here to view video


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."

{...}

NASA Press Release
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