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A New DAWN For NASA September 27, 2007

Posted by showmescifi in scifi.
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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft took of this morning  Cape Canaveral  on its way to check out a pair of asteriods.

NASA itself has called the extremely efficient space craft – The Prius of space travel

“Dawn has risen, and the spacecraft is healthy,” said the mission’s project manager Keyur Patel of JPL in a statement. “About this time tomorrow [Friday morning], we will have passed the moon’s orbit.”

Dawn’s 4.8-billion-kilometer (3-billion-mile) odyssey includes exploration of asteroid Vesta in 2011 and the dwarf planet Ceres in 2015. These two icons of the asteroid belt have been witness to much of our solar system’s history. By using Dawn’s instruments to study both asteroids, scientists more accurately can compare and contrast the two. Dawn’s science instrument suite will measure elemental and mineral composition, shape, surface topography, and tectonic history, and will also seek water-bearing minerals. In addition, the Dawn spacecraft and how it orbits Vesta and Ceres will be used to measure the celestial bodies’ masses and gravity fields.

Sounds like one heck of a trip to me.

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