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Old 07-17-2011, 07:25 AM   #46
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NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around Asteroid Vesta.


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July 16, 2011


PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Saturday became the first probe ever to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Dawn will study the asteroid, named Vesta, for a year before departing for a second destination, a dwarf planet named Ceres, in July 2012. Observations will provide unprecedented data to help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system. The data also will help pave the way for future human space missions.

"Today, we celebrate an incredible exploration milestone as a spacecraft enters orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt for the first time," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Dawn's study of the asteroid Vesta marks a major scientific accomplishment and also points the way to the future destinations where people will travel in the coming years. President Obama has directed NASA to send astronauts to an asteroid by 2025, and Dawn is gathering crucial data that will inform that mission."
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-212

Good for them, and Dawn! Bet they are all deeply chuffed.

Edit: BBC article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14160135

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Last edited by Notebook; 07-17-2011 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:03 AM   #47
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:34 PM   #48
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA Dawn Spacecraft Returns Close-Up Image of Vesta

July 18, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned the first close-up image after beginning its orbit around the giant asteroid Vesta. On Friday, July 15, Dawn became the first probe to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The image taken for navigation purposes shows Vesta in greater detail than ever before. When Vesta captured Dawn into its orbit, there were approximately 9,900 miles (16,000 kilometers) between the spacecraft and asteroid. Engineers estimate the orbit capture took place at 10 p.m. PDT Friday, July 15 (1 a.m. EDT Saturday, July 16).

Click on images for details
Latest Image of Vesta captured by Dawn on July 17, 2011
This is the first image obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft after successfully entering orbit around Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Anaglyph Image of Vesta's South Polar Region
This anaglyph image of the asteroid Vesta was taken on July 9, 2011 by the framing camera instrument aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
An Enhanced View of Vesta's South Polar Region
This enhanced image, taken by the framing camera instrument aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft on July 9, 2011, views the south polar region of this giant asteroid.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Vesta Sizes Up
Vesta is the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft. It is currently being observed by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which has entered orbit around Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/ESA


Vesta is 330 miles (530 kilometers) in diameter and the second most massive object in the asteroid belt. Ground- and space-based telescopes have obtained images of Vesta for about two centuries, but they have not been able to see much detail on its surface.

"We are beginning the study of arguably the oldest extant primordial surface in the solar system," said Dawn principal investigator Christopher Russell from the University of California, Los Angeles. "This region of space has been ignored for far too long. So far, the images received to date reveal a complex surface that seems to have preserved some of the earliest events in Vesta's history, as well as logging the onslaught that Vesta has suffered in the intervening eons."

Vesta is thought to be the source of a large number of meteorites that fall to Earth. Vesta and its new NASA neighbor, Dawn, are currently approximately 117 million miles (188 million kilometers) away from Earth. The Dawn team will begin gathering science data in August. Observations will provide unprecedented data to help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system. The data also will help pave the way for future human space missions.

After traveling nearly four years and 1.7 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers), Dawn also accomplished the largest propulsive acceleration of any spacecraft, with a change in velocity of more than 4.2 miles per second (6.7 kilometers per second), due to its ion engines. The engines expel ions to create thrust and provide higher spacecraft speeds than any other technology currently available.

"Dawn slipped gently into orbit with the same grace it has displayed during its years of ion thrusting through interplanetary space," said Marc Rayman, Dawn chief engineer and mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It is fantastically exciting that we will begin providing humankind its first detailed views of one of the last unexplored worlds in the inner solar system."

Although orbit capture is complete, the approach phase will continue for about three weeks. During approach, the Dawn team will continue a search for possible moons around the asteroid; obtain more images for navigation; observe Vesta's physical properties; and obtain calibration data.

In addition, navigators will measure the strength of Vesta's gravitational tug on the spacecraft to compute the asteroid's mass with much greater accuracy than has been previously available. That will allow them to refine the time of orbit insertion.

{...}




NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 11-235 - NASA Dawn Spacecraft Returns Close-Up Image Of Asteroid Vesta
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:05 PM   #49
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Wow that rock is more beautiful than I imagined
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:39 PM   #50
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Sort of mini-Moon. I would be curious to know how much G you have on the surface.

Edit : Gravity on the surface is 0,22 m/s (9,81 m/s on Earth)

But in comparison, the Moon is really flat.

Still, that rock is more or less spherical. Maybe it was even more spherical before it took a serie of bad blows.

I hope to see astronauts "walking" (if enough gravity) on it one day.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:23 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 I hope to see astronauts "walking" (if enough gravity) on it one day.
I think walking will be difficult in 0.022 g (equatorial surface gravity). But I wouldn't mind trying! I wonder if parabolic flights are accurate enough to simulate 0.022 g.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:35 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by C3PO View Post
 I think walking will be difficult in 0.022 g (equatorial surface gravity). But I wouldn't mind trying! I wonder if parabolic flights are accurate enough to simulate 0.022 g.
I wonder if unpowered parabolic flights will be possible on Vesta!
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:15 PM   #53
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Beams Back New Photo

July 21, 2011

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NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on July 18, 2011.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Dawn took this image during its current orbit of Vesta, traveling from the day side to the night side. The large structure near the south pole that showed up so prominently in previous images is visible in the center of the illuminated surface. Compared to other images, this one shows more of the surface beneath the spacecraft in the shadow of night. Vesta turns on its axis once every five hours and 20 minutes.

{...}
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:40 PM   #54
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NASA:
July 27, 2011
MEDIA ADVISORY : M11-157
NASA To Unveil Full-Frame Image Of Vesta At News Conference


WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a news conference on Monday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. EDT [18:00 UTC], to discuss the Dawn spacecraft's successful orbit insertion around Vesta on July 15 and unveil the first full-frame images from Dawn's framing camera. The news conference will be held in the Von Karman auditorium at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, Calif. Journalists also may ask questions from participating NASA locations or join by phone. To obtain dial-in information, journalists must contact JPL's Media Relations Office at 818-354-5011 by 9 a.m. PDT on Aug. 1.

NASA Television and the agency's website will broadcast the event. It also will be carried live on Ustream, with a live chat box available, at:


The news conference panelists are:
  • Colleen Hartman, assistant associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Charles Elachi, director, JPL
  • Marc Rayman, chief engineer and mission manager, JPL
  • Christopher Russell, Dawn principal investigator, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Holger Sierks, framing camera team member, Max Planck Society, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
  • Enrico Flamini, chief scientist, Italian Space Agency (ASI), Rome, Italy

Although Dawn is collecting some science data now, the mission's intensive collection of information will begin in early August. Observations of the giant asteroid Vesta will provide unprecedented data to help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. After spending one year orbiting Vesta, Dawn will travel to a second destination, the dwarf planet Ceres, and arrive there in February 2015.

{...}
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:14 PM   #55
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Time to blow open those water tanks and land on it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:56 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by orb View Post
 WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a news conference on Monday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. EDT [18:00 UTC], to discuss the Dawn spacecraft's successful orbit insertion around Vesta on July 15 and unveil the first full-frame images from Dawn's framing camera.
An update - NASA: MEDIA ADVISORY : M11-160 - Update -- New Event Time NASA To Unveil Vesta Images At News Conference:
Quote:
WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a news conference on Monday, Aug. 1, at noon EDT [16:00 UTC], to discuss the Dawn spacecraft's successful orbit insertion around Vesta on July 15 and unveil the first full-frame images from Dawn's framing camera.

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Old 07-29-2011, 12:53 AM   #57
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA's Dawn's Spacecraft Views Dark Side of Vesta

July 28, 2011

Dawn took this image over Vesta's northern hemisphere after the spacecraft completed its first passage over the dark side of the giant asteroid. It is northern hemisphere winter on Vesta now, so its north pole is in deep shadow.

The Dawn science team is working to determine the significance of the distinct features in this image, which include large grooves or ridges extending for great distances around Vesta.

Click on image for details
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on July 23, 2011.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA


This image was taken by Dawn's framing camera on July 23, from a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers).

The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, for NASA. The University of California, Los Angeles, is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras have been developed and built under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, with significant contributions by DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The Framing Camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA/JPL.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #58
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Begins Science Orbits of Vesta

August 01, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft, the first ever to orbit an object in the main asteroid belt, is spiraling towards its first of four intensive science orbits. That initial orbit of the rocky world Vesta begins Aug. 11, at an altitude of nearly 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) and will provide in-depth analysis of the asteroid. Vesta is the brightest object in the asteroid belt as seen from Earth and is thought to be the source of a large number of meteorites that fall to Earth.

The Dawn team unveiled the first full-frame image of Vesta taken on July 24:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/da.../pia14317.html

This image was taken at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers). Images from Dawn's framing camera, taken for navigation purposes and as preparation for scientific observations, are revealing the first surface details of the giant asteroid. These images go all the way around Vesta, since the giant asteroid turns on its axis once every five hours and 20 minutes.

"Now that we are in orbit around one of the last unexplored worlds in the inner solar system, we can see that it's a unique and fascinating place," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Click on images for details
Full-Frame Image of Vesta
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image of the giant asteroid Vesta with its framing camera on July 24, 2011.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Mosaic Image of Vesta's Surface
This image is a mosaic of Vesta's equatorial region, composed of observations taken through the panchromatic filter on the framing camera onboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft on July 24, 2011.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Close-up View of Vesta's South Pole Region
In this image, obtained by Dawn's framing camera, a peak at Vesta's south pole is seen at the lower right. The grooves in the equatorial region are about six miles wide (10 kilometers).
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Close-up View of 'Snowman' Craters
In this image, obtained by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft, a set of three craters, informally nicknamed "Snowman" by the camera's team members, is located in the northern hemisphere of Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Close-up View of Craters in South Equatorial Region
In this image, obtained by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft, various craters are visible in the southern equatorial region of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Vesta Full Rotation Movie
In this movie, strung together from a series of images provided by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft, we see a full rotation of Vesta, which occurs over the course of roughly five hours.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA


After traveling nearly four years and 1.7 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers), Dawn has been captured by Vesta's gravity, and there currently are 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) between the asteroid and the spacecraft. The giant asteroid and its new neighbor are approximately 114 million miles (184 million kilometers) away from Earth.

"We have been calling Vesta the smallest terrestrial planet," said Chris Russell, Dawn's principal investigator at UCLA. "The latest imagery provides much justification for our expectations. They show that a variety of processes were once at work on the surface of Vesta and provide extensive evidence for Vesta's planetary aspirations."

Engineers still are working to determine the exact time that Dawn entered Vesta's orbit, but the team has reported an approximate orbit insertion time of 9:47 p.m. PDT on July 15 (12:47 a.m. EDT on July 16).

In addition to the framing camera, Dawn's instruments include the gamma ray and neutron detector and the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer. The gamma ray and neutron detector uses 21 sensors with a very wide field of view to measure the energy of subatomic particles emitted by the elements in the upper yard (meter) of the asteroid's surface. The visible and infrared mapping spectrometer will measure the surface mineralogy of both Vesta and Dawn's next target, the dwarf planet Ceres. The spectrometer is a modification of a similar one flying on the European Space Agency's Rosetta and Venus Express missions.

Dawn also will make another set of scientific measurements at Vesta and Ceres using the spacecraft's radio transmitter in tandem with sensitive antennas on Earth. Scientists will monitor signals from Dawn and later Ceres to detect subtle variations in the objects' gravity fields. These variations will provide clues about the interior structure of these bodies by studying the mass distributed in each gravity field.

"The new observations of Vesta are an inspirational reminder of the wonders unveiled through ongoing exploration of our solar system," said Jim Green, planetary division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

{...}




NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 11-254 - NASA'S Dawn Spacecraft Begins Science Orbits Of Vesta

SPACE.com:CBS News Space: Dawn rises on Vesta: NASA unveils spectacular photos of cratered asteroid

Spaceflight Now: NASA unveils spectacular photos of cratered asteroid
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:16 AM   #59
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Great stuff, these unmanned missions! And these photos are with some stupid navigation camera. Just U wait till the big guns and science suite come on-line..

Last edited by Keatah; 08-02-2011 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:41 PM   #60
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SPACE.com: Asteroid Vesta Home to 'Snowman' Made of Craters
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