Dawn was the first mission to two other worlds Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard describes the Dawn spacecraft, which was the first mission to orbit two worlds beyond our planet.
Dawn was launched more than 11 years ago to explore the two largest objects in the main asteroid belt, Ceres and Vesta.
The mission ended when all communication was lost with NASA’s Deep Space Network on October 31 and November 1. Scientists concluded that Dawn had ran out of the fuel that enabled the spacecraft to control its pointing and charging. The data Dawn beamed back to Earth from its four science experiments enabled scientists to compare two planet-like worlds that evolved very differently. This colorful composite image from NASA’s Dawn mission shows the flow of material inside and outside a crater called Aelia on the giant asteroid Vesta.
UCLA was responsible for Dawn’s prime mission science. JPL is responsible for Dawn’s extended mission science. Northrop Grumman in Dulles, Virginia designed and built the spacecraft. JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena.
Dawn is now orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres, and will remain there for decades.
Video Credit: NASA Goddard