Dawn - Mission to Vesta and Ceres
Dawn – one mission, two heavenly bodiesNASA’s Dawn spacecraft was launched on 27 September 2007. On 16 July 2011, it arrived at the asteroid Vesta, which it explored until 5 September 2012. The spacecraft then departed for the dwarf planet Ceres, where it will arrive on 6 March 2015. The Dawn mission is the first to successively study two celestial bodies from orbit.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft was launched on 27 September 2007, and has been in space for nearly 11 years exploring the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. They are the most massive objects of the asteroid belt and are located between Mars and Jupiter. Since their formation four and a half billion years ago, the two bodies have probably changed little and are therefore ideal to take a look far into the past, almost back to the dawn of our cosmic home.
The historic mission, which had been extended several times and far exceeded the expectations of the scientists, came to an end on 31 October 2018: radio contact with the probe stopped because it had run out of fuel as expected. But the data acquired until that moment will keep the scientists busy for a long time to come.