Mission Artwork





Launched in Sept. 2007, the Dawn mission is the first time that a spacecraft will orbit both an asteroid, Vesta, and a dwarf planet, Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft will study these two distinct bodies, compare their different evolutionary paths and characterize the early solar system and the processes that dominated its' formation.

Dawn's ability to orbit two separate bodies is made possible by the use of ion engines, a revolutionary new propulsion system, seen as a blue beam in my image.

Dawn reached Vesta in August 2011.

Hi-res versions available here.




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