Wallpaper Wednesday

5 09 2012

Dawn Orbiting Over Vesta. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Today NASA announced that Dawn has escaped the asteroid Vesta’s gravitational pull. The spacecraft is now “officially” on its way to Ceres, the first dwarf planet detected by humans. Stop by the mission website to watch Dawn’s Greatest Hits, a splashy video highlighting the research accomplishments at Vesta, the most interesting of which were a series of discoveries that led to the conclusion that Vesta resembled a minor planet more than an asteroid. Dawn’s work at Ceres will be exciting: what started out as a comparison between an asteroid and a dwarf planet has turned into a comparison between two different types of small planets. Check out When is an Asteroid not an Asteroid? for more on that story.

Dawn’s Greatest Hits:


Farewell Portrait of Giant Asteroid Vesta:


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Observatories and Instruments