Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Dawn

  • 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 Sept. 2 using the spacecrafts 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.

  • Brighest area on Ceres may be due to hydrothermal activity

    Jim SharkeyJuly 1st, 2016

    According to a new study by scientists with NASA's Dawn mission, the brightest area on Ceres, located inside Occator Crater, has the highest concentration of carbonate minerals ever observed anywhere other than on Earth. The study, published online in the journal Nature, is one of two recent papers about the chemical composition of Ceres.

  • Life on Ceres? Mysterious changes in the bright spots still baffle scientists

    Tomasz NowakowskiMay 26th, 2016

    Bright spots on Ceres continue to puzzle researchers. Recently, when a team of astronomers, led by Paolo Molaro of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory in Italy, conducted observations of these features, they found out something unexpected: The scientists were surprised to detect that the spots brighten during the day and also show other variations; the variability still remains a mystery.

  • Dawn’s closest views of Ceres show bright craters

    Jim SharkeyApril 22nd, 2016

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has given scientists spectacular close-up images of Ceres from its lowest mapping orbit of 240 miles (385 kilometers) above the dwarf planet's surface. The images provide the best views so far of several craters and other features on Ceres.

  • Dawn team presents close-up images of Ceres at conference

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 27th, 2016

    New, close-up images of various regions on Ceres' surface along with data the spacecraft obtained about the dwarf planet's surface composition were presented by members of NASA's Dawn team on Tuesday at the 47th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held at The Woodlands, Texas.

  • Dawn marks anniversary of entering Ceres’ orbit

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 8th, 2016

    NASA's Dawn mission has marked the first anniversary of the spacecraft's entrance into orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres on March 6, 2015.