A journey to the beginnings of the Solar System


Mis­sion to Ves­ta and Ceres

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.




Background articles

Participating DLR institutes and facilities



Falk Dambowsky

Head of Media Relations, Editor
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-3959

Ulrich Köhler

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Planetary Research
Rutherfordstraße 2, 12489 Berlin