Complexity and Challenge: Dawn Project Manager Speaks of Difficult Voyage to Vesta and Ceres

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s Dawn spacecraft heading toward the dwarf planet Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A decade of operations in deep space is no longer a unique understanding, as we have seen in recent weeks, as Cassini ended 13 years of spectacular science at Saturn and the international Dawn mission celebrated ten years exploring […]

Two Missions to Two Worlds: Ten Years of Exploration by NASA's Dawn Spacecraft

A processed still image from Dawn with Ceres as a crescent as seen on April 10, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Ten years ago, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft launched atop a Delta II Heavy booster from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., bound for one of the most audacious missions of exploration ever undertaken in human history. […]

Ten Years of Dawn: A Decade of Operations for Humanity's First Double-Orbiter

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s Dawn spacecraft heading toward the dwarf planet Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“I’m ecstatic,” said Sarah Gavit of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in December 2001, when the space agency announced that the Dawn mission to orbit and explore the dwarf planets Ceres and Vesta—a pair of worlds deep within the […]

Lucy and Psyche: NASA Selects Two New Asteroid Missions for Launch in 2020s

Artist’s conception of the two new missions announced: Lucy, flying by the Trojan asteroid Eurybates, and Psyche, the first mission to the metal world 16 Psyche. Image Credit: SwRI/SSL/Peter Rubin

NASA has chosen two new missions to explore the Solar System; it was announced today during a media teleconference. The missions are part of […]

'Cracked and Tipped Over' Pluto Has a Subsurface Ocean: New Evidence From New Horizons

View of Sputnik Planitia on Pluto. This vast region of nitrogen ice provides clues that a subsurface ocean of liquid water exists on Pluto. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto, a tiny frigid world in the distant outskirts of the Solar System, has been full of surprises, as first revealed by the New Horizons spacecraft back […]

The Changing Bright Spots of Ceres: New Evidence for Geological Activity?

Artist’s illustration of the brights spots Occator crater and elsewhere, based on a detailed map of the surface compiled from images taken from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. New observations show that the bright spots change in brightness from day to night, suggesting that they change under the influence […]

Dawn Celebrates One Year at Ceres with Incredible New Images of 'Lonely Mountain'

View of Ahuna Mons from the low-altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

It has been a year now since the Dawn spacecraft first reached the dwarf planet Ceres in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and during that time has shown Ceres to be a unique and complex little world. At […]

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Extensive Study of Dwarf Planet Ceres from Lowest Orbit

Artist’s conception of Dawn orbiting Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Dawn spacecraft just recently entered its lowest and final orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, providing the closest look ever at the puzzling world. Dawn will, of course, be taking thousands more high-resolution photographs, but what else will it be doing during the remainder […]

2015 in Review: A Year of Spectacular Planetary Missions and Discoveries

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons, showing rugged mountains and vast icy plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

To say that 2015 has been a great year for planetary exploration would be an understatement, with fantastic new discoveries from around the Solar System. From our first ever close-up look at Pluto and its moons, to […]

First High-Resolution Images Released of Ceres from Dawn's New Lowest Orbit

One of the first new images taken in Dawn’s lowest orbit around Ceres, showing the crater chain called Gerber Catena. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASA has released the first images of the dwarf planet Ceres from the Dawn spacecraft’s new lowest orbit. This is the closest view that Dawn will have of Ceres and its […]