Monday, 10 December, 2018

'Nasa's historic Dawn mission to asteroid belt comes to end'

11-Year-Old Mission Ends As NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Goes Silent NASA's 'Dawn Mission' to an asteroid belt comes to an end
Cary Marshall | 05 November, 2018, 22:39

The spacecraft this week stopped communicating with flight controllers, prompting NASA to declare it dead on Thursday.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, paid tribute to a mission that narrowly dodged cancellation during the run-up to its launch in 2007. "The astounding images and data that Dawn collected from Vesta and Ceres are critical to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system". Scientists found about a month ago that Dawn was running out of hydrazine, the fuel that kept the spacecraft's antennas facing Earth and helped turn its solar panels toward the Sun to recharge its battery cells.

Dawn is referred as the only rocket to orbit an astronomical body in the fundamental space rock belt among Mars and Jupiter in 2011 when it started orbiting the space rock Vesta.

"The goals we laid at Dawn, was incredible, but every time he did, says Rayman". Strict planetary protection protocols govern how NASA can dispose of crafts like Dawn, as they do not want to interfere with the chemistry on Ceres.

More news: USA drops the sanctions hammer on Iran ... again

Then it moved on to the dwarf planet Ceres in 2015, becoming the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet and the only spacecraft to orbit one, NASA said.

This photo of Ceres and the bright regions of Occator Crater was one of the last views NASA's Dawn spacecraft transmitted before it completed its mission. This is why the scientists studying Dawn's data believe that Ceres once hosted an ocean, and there could even be liquid beneath the surface. After retiring Kepler, the space agency announced that Dawn, the asteroid-hopping spacecraft, has gone silent. Among its accomplishments, Dawn showed how important location was to the way objects in the early solar system formed and evolved. As the first spaceship to visit a dwarf planet, Dawn has also proved vital in revealing that these dinky worlds have the potential to support oceans. The OSIRIS-REx will only manage to enter the asteroid's orbit on December 13th, if everything goes according to plan.

Before arriving to Ceres, the spacecraft had recorded details about new phenomena that challenged everything we know about these dwarf planets.

In 2016, NASA Osiris-Rex principal investigator Dante Lauretta said: "We're not anywhere near that kind of energy for an impact". JPL is responsible for overall Dawn mission science.

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