At 6:39 a.m. (CST) Friday morning, The “Dawn” Spacecraft reached its final destination.
The Video shows the trajectory of the final stage in its mission to the Dwarf planet , “Ceres”.
The Spacecraft traveled over 3 Billion miles in 7.5 years to reach its goal. It will now enter into lower orbits to capture the Dwarfs’ images. Scientists are exuberant over the success. Dawn is to spend more than 37 hours examining Ceres each orbit during its descend. It will come to within 235 miles of Ceres in its final embrace. The Dwarf planet was considered an Asteroid in the past.
Original Article by Bob King
Not only is this humankind’s first probe to orbit a dwarf planet, Dawn is the only spacecraft to fly missions to two different planetary bodies. Dawn’s initial orbit places it 38,000 miles (61,000 km) from Ceres with a view of the opposite side of Ceres from the Sun. That’s why we’ll be seeing photos of the dwarf planet as a crescent for the time being. If you watch the video, you’ll notice that Dawn won’t see Ceres’ fully sunlit hemisphere until early-mid April.
The spacecraft will spend the next month gradually spiraling down to Ceres to reach its “survey orbit” of 2,730 miles in April. From there it will train its science camera and visible and infrared mapping spectrometer to gather pictures and data. The leisurely pace of the orbit will allow Dawn to spend more than 37 hours examining Ceres’ dayside per revolution. NASA will continue to lower the spacecraft throughout the year until it reaches its minimum altitude of 235 miles.
Read more …universetoday.com/scientists-in-orbit
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