NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival

March 3, 2015 8:18 PM

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NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival

“Studying Ceres allows us to do historical research in space, opening a window into the earliest chapter in the history of our solar system,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Data returned from Dawn could contribute significant breakthroughs in our understanding of how the solar system formed.”

Dawn began its final approach phase toward Ceres in December. The spacecraft has taken several optical navigation images and made two rotation characterizations, allowing Ceres to be observed through its full nine-hour rotation. Since January 25, Dawn has been delivering the highest-resolution image...

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