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Dawn Mission: A Journey in Space and TimeBy successively orbiting both 4 Vesta and 1 Ceres the Dawn mission directly addresses the longstanding goals of NASA and the planetary community to understand the origin and evolution of the solar system by obtaining geophysical and geochemical data on diverse main belt asteroids. Ceres and Vesta are two complementary terrestrial protoplanets (one apparently "wet" and one "dry"), whose accretion was terminated by the formation of Jupiter. Ceres is little changed since it formed in the early solar system, while Vesta has experienced significant heating and differentiation. Both have remained intact over the age of the solar system, thereby retaining a record of events and processes from the time of planet formation. Detailed study of the geophysics and geochemistry of these two bodies provides critical benchmarks for the early solar system conditions and processes that shaped its subsequent evolution. Dawn provides the missing context for both primitive and evolved meteoritic data, thus playing a central role in understanding terrestrial planet formation and the evolution of the asteroid belt. Dawn is to be launched in May 2006 arriving at Vesta in 2010 and Ceres in 2014, stopping at each to make 11 months of orbital measurements. The spacecraft uses solar electric propulsion both in cruise and in orbit to make most efficient use of its xenon propellant. The spacecraft carries a framing camera, visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, gamma ray/neutron spectrometer, a laser altimeter, magnetometer, and radio science.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Conference Paper
Russell, C. T.
(California Univ. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Coradini, A.
(Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Rome, Italy)
DeSanctis, M. C.
(Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Rome, Italy)
Feldman, W. C.
(Los Alamos Scientific Lab. NM, United States)
Jaumann, R.
(Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt Berlin, Germany)
Konopliv, A. S.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
McCord, T. B.
(Hawaii Univ. Honolulu, HI, United States)
McFadden, L. A.
(Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
McSween, H. Y.
(Tennessee Univ. Knoxville, TN, United States)
Mottola, S.
(Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt Berlin, Germany)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIV
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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