Saturday, September 01, 2012

Dawn Leaves Vesta to Rendevous With Ceres

Hubble photo of Ceres
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has completed its' mission at the asteroid Vesta and is now heading to dwarf planet Ceres.

NASA reported a successful start of Dawn's ion thruster engines and the craft began moving away from Vesta at a steadily increasing rate. Due to the efficiency of Dawn's engines, it will only use 250 pounds of fuel. The ion engines produce very little thrust but they can be run for extended periods which will allow Dawn to reach Ceres in just two and a half years which would be impossible with standard chemical rocket engines.

Below is a high-res farewell tour of Vesta made up of images from Dawn

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