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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

Mystery Solved? Odd Bright Spots on Ceres Explained as Salt Deposits

False color view of Occator crater on Ceres, showing the unusual bright spots. The image was taken by the framing camera on NASA’s Dawn spacecraft from a distance of about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

There now might be a definitive answer to a puzzle which has intrigued both scientists and the […]

NASA's Dawn Spirals to Final Science Orbit, Poised to Return Up-Close Images

From NASA/JPL: “This view, made using images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, is a color-coded topographic map of Occator crater on Ceres. Blue is the lowest elevation, and brown is the highest. The crater, which is home to the brightest spots on Ceres, is approximately 56 miles (90 kilometers wide).” Occator is home to […]

A Deeper Understanding: Dawn Reaches Third Science Orbit, Shows Closest View of Ceres Yet

From NASA/JPL: “The Lonely Mountain: NASA’s Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers). The mountain, located in the southern hemisphere, stands 4 miles (6 kilometers) high. Its perimeter is sharply defined, with almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope.” […]

Dawn En Route to Third Science Orbit, New Maps Reveal Astonishing Peaks and Depths

Dawn is using its ion propulsion system to lower its orbit to within 1,000 miles of the dwarf planet Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety.” — Rene Daumal

While astronaut Scott Kelly’s “Year in Space” mission helps researchers understand the effects of long-duration […]