Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Dawn

  • Bright spots on Ceres indicate geologic activity

    Jim SharkeyDecember 16th, 2017

    Since NASA's Dawn spacecraft arrived at Ceres in March 2015, both scientists and the general public have been able to see the hundreds of bright spots on the dwarf planet's surface. Dawn mission scientists reported their most recent research about these bright areas at the American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. The team's findings indicate that Ceres is an active, evolving world.

  • Ancient interior activity likely formed features on Ceres’ surface

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 15th, 2017

    A new analysis of surface features on Ceres sent back by NASA's Dawn spacecraft indicates that at least some of those features were created by the ancient movement of materials in the dwarf planet's interior.

  • What’s inside Ceres? Dawn mission finds possible ancient ocean remnants

    Ryan ChylinskiOctober 29th, 2017

    Orbiting since March of 2015, NASA's Dawn spacecraft continues to provide exciting science from Ceres – a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Two studies, part of the Dawn mission's second extension, are using new data to shed light on a possible liquid past.

  • NASA gives Dawn mission second extension

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 22nd, 2017

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting Ceres since March 2015, has just been given a second extension, which will be used to bring the probe into the closest orbit yet around the dwarf planet.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: The decade of Dawn

    Ocean McIntyreSeptember 27th, 2017

    When the Dawn mission finally launched on September 27, 2007, many saw it as practically miraculous. The spacecraft had survived numerous cancellations and delays, and it was only with concerted effort that the mission was reinstated. Dawn had an audacious mandate, to do something that hadn't been attempted before – to travel to one body and then depart and head to another.

  • NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtains ‘opposition surge’ images of Ceres

    Ocean McIntyreMay 22nd, 2017

    After more than two years orbiting Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft continues to tease out remarkable science from the enigmatic dwarf planet. On April 29, mission specialists were able to successfully place Dawn into opposition – a position directly between the Sun and Ceres.

  • NASA’s Dawn spacecraft experiences reaction wheel malfunction

    Jim SharkeyApril 28th, 2017

    During preparations for observing Ceres' Occator Crater, NASA's Dawn spacecraft's remaining reaction wheels stopped functioning. The probe controls its orientation in space by changing the speed these gyroscope-like devices spin.

  • Solar activity controls Ceres’ tenuous atmosphere

    Laurel KornfeldApril 7th, 2017

    A new study by scientists working on NASA's Dawn mission indicates Ceres' atmosphere is controlled by solar activity rather than by its relative closeness to the Sun. In observations conducted since the 1990s, the dwarf planet's tenuous atmosphere has mysteriously appeared, disappeared, and reappeared at various times.

  • Ceres’ bright spots significantly younger than crater they inhabit

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 9th, 2017

    Researchers who studied images of Ceres' Occator Crater captured by the Dawn spacecraft's scientific imaging system have determined that its bright spots, composed largely of carbonate salts, are significantly younger than the crater in which they sit.

  • Dawn spacecraft finds evidence of organic materials on Ceres

    Jim SharkeyFebruary 19th, 2017

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has detected evidence of organic materials on Ceres, a dwarf planet that is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

  • Ceres covered in hidden ice, studies suggest

    Paul KnightlyDecember 19th, 2016

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and NASA have announced a series of new findings from the Dawn spacecraft currently orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres that point to the existence of ice within its crust.

  • Higher Dawn orbit produces breathtaking new images of Ceres

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 21st, 2016

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured dramatic new views of the dwarf planet, Ceres, including one of Occator Crater – the site of the uncanny bright spots.

  • Higher orbit will help Dawn address science questions about Ceres

    Laurel KornfeldSeptember 3rd, 2016

    In order to obtain a different view of Ceres' surface and address science questions regarding the dwarf planet, NASA's Dawn spacecraft began raising into a higher orbit starting on Sept. 2, 2016, using the spacecraft's onboard ion engine.

  • Ceres’ interior revealed by gravity data

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 5th, 2016

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft does not have the necessary equipment capable of studying Ceres' interior, but remote measurements of subtle changes in the impact of the dwarf planet's gravity on the spacecraft have revealed its internal structure.

  • Ceres’ surface has cold regions that can trap water ice

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 10th, 2016

    Using data from cameras aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft, as well as computer models, mission scientists have identified areas on the surface of Ceres' northern hemisphere that never receive sunlight and are, therefore, capable of trapping water ice.