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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

First Mission to Dwarf Planet Set for Ceres Arrival, Sees Surprising 'Bright Spots' Beyond Compare

Ceres awaits Dawn with two totally unique bright spots inside crater. Ceres rotates in this sped-up movie comprised of images taken by NASA’s Dawn mission during its approach to the dwarf planet. The images were taken on Feb. 19, 2015, from a distance of nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers). Dawn observed Ceres for […]

Ceres Reveals Eye-Like Bright Spots, Mr. Spock Explains Dawn

This image was taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft of dwarf planet Ceres on Feb. 19 from a distance of nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers). It shows that the brightest spot on Ceres has a dimmer companion, which apparently lies in the same basin. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

A scientific mystery on dwarf planet Ceres—worthy of […]

Ceres Shows Mystifying Faces and Perplexing White Spots to NASA’s Dawn

Two mystifying faces of Ceres These two views of Ceres were acquired by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on Feb. 12, 2015, from a distance of about 52,000 miles (83,000 kilometers) as the dwarf planet rotated. The images have been magnified from their original size. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

A fresh set of images of dwarf planet […]

Water on Vesta? Gullies Suggest Wet Debris Flows in the Past, Study Finds

Image of curved gullies and fan-shaped deposits in Cornelia crater on Vesta. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The Dawn spacecraft is now very close to the dwarf planet Ceres, but there are some interesting new findings from its previous visit to the asteroid Vesta. Curved gullies on its surface suggest that small amounts of water […]

Dawn’s Greatest Glimpse Yet of Ceres Hints at Startling Revelations Soon to Come

GIF animation of Ceres images taken by Dawn spacecraft on Jan. 13, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

We’ve wondered about Ceres‘ nature and true identity for over two centuries, ever since it was discovered on New Year’s Day, 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi of Italy. It’s been alternately classified as a planet, asteroid, and more recently […]

Dawn Spacecraft Takes Its Best-Yet Image of Dwarf Planet Ceres

The best image of dwarf planet Ceres obtained so far by the Dawn spacecraft, from 740,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) away. Images will get much better as the spacecraft approaches Ceres over the next few months. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The Dawn spacecraft continues to make its way closer to a world which still […]