The most thrilling event that recently occurred in international planetary research was the mission of NASA's Dawn space probe to the asteroid Vesta. In 2011 and 2012, the orbiter explored the third-largest and second-heaviest body between Mars and Jupiter. Developed in Germany, its camera system photographed the 500-kliometre planetoid from three orbits at different altitudes. Scientists were endlessly astonished when it emerged that Vesta comes close to being classed as a planet in the asteroid belt. Image data were evaluated at DLR and the topography and exact shape of the body were computed. At the end of August 2012, Dawn took leave of Vesta; it is now making tracks for the dwarf planet Ceres, which it will reach in 2015.