Dawn beams back asteroid science data

Aug 12, 2011 By Priscilla Vega
This anaglyph image of Vesta's equator was put together from two clear filter images, taken on July 24, 2011 by the framing camera instrument aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The anaglyph image shows hills, troughs, ridges and steep craters. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Dawn spacecraft has completed a graceful spiral into the first of four planned science orbits during the spacecraft's yearlong visit to Vesta. The spacecraft started taking detailed observations on Aug. 11 at 9:13 a.m. PDT (12:13 a.m. EDT), which marks the official start of the first science-collecting orbit phase at Vesta, also known as the survey orbit.

Survey orbit is the initial and highest orbit, at roughly 1700 miles (2700 kilometers) above the surface, which will provide an overview or "big picture" perspective of the giant asteroid.

The primary objective of survey orbit is to image the surface with near-global coverage in visible and with the mapping spectrometer, also known as VIR. Dawn also will be using its framing camera to collect image mosaics that complement the VIR spectral data to produce geologic and compositional maps of Vesta's surface. Ultrasensitive measurements of the spacecraft's motion using will allow improved understanding of the giant asteroid's . Dawn's gamma ray and will continue to collect background data.

The survey phase is planned to last 20 days. Each orbit takes almost three days, which will provide the spacecraft seven trips around Vesta. After survey orbit, Dawn will resume thrusting, taking about a month to spiral down gently to its next science orbit for an even closer view. That orbit, known as Mapping Orbit, or HAMO, begins in late September. Dawn will spend about a month in HAMO, circling around Vesta in half a day, rather than three. Dawn will orbit more than 60 times during HAMO, allowing the camera to fully map the illuminated portion of Vesta at even higher resolution, and enable the science team to generate stereo images.

Dawn launched in September 2007 and arrived at Vesta in July 2011. Following a year at Vesta, the spacecraft will depart in July 2012 for Ceres, where it will arrive in 2015. Dawn's mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Ca., for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

More information: For more information about Dawn, visit: www.nasa.gov/dawn

Related Stories

Dawn captures first image of nearing asteroid

May 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft has obtained its first image of the giant asteroid Vesta, which will help fine-tune navigation during its approach. Dawn is expected to achieve orbit around Vesta on ...

Dawn spacecraft begins science orbits of Vesta

Aug 02, 2011

NASA's Dawn spacecraft, the first ever to orbit an object in the main asteroid belt, is spiraling towards its first of four intensive science orbits. That initial orbit of the rocky world Vesta begins Aug. ...

Dawn probe reaches milestone approaching asteroid Vesta

May 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached its official approach phase to the asteroid Vesta and will begin using cameras for the first time to aid navigation for an expected July 16 orbital encounter. ...

Dawn nears start of year-long stay at giant asteroid

Jun 24, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on track to begin the first extended visit to a large asteroid. The mission expects to go into orbit around Vesta on July 16 and begin gathering science data in early ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

20 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
1.6 / 5 (9) Aug 13, 2011
Congratulations!

I look forward to observations that confirm or deny evidence from meteorites [1-3], the Sun [4] and planets [5] that the Solar System formed directly out of poorly mixed debris from the Sun's explosion 5 billion years (5 Gyr) ago - followed by reformation on the pulsar.

1. "Xenon in carbonaceous chondrites", Nature 240, 99-101 (1972):

Data: www.omatumr.com/D...Data.htm

2. "Elemental and isotopic inhomogeneities in noble gases: The case for local synthesis of the chemical elements", TMAS 9, 104-122 (1975):

Data: www.omatumr.com/D...Data.htm

3. "Strange xenon, extinct super-heavy elements, and the solar neutrino puzzle", Science 195, 208-209 (1977):

www.omatumr.com/a...enon.pdf

4. "Solar abundances of the elements", Meteoritics 18, 209-222 (1983)

Data: www.omatumr.com/D...Data.htm

5. "Jupiter data confirm intra-solar diffusion", Meteoritics 33, A97, 5011 (1998):

www.lpi.usra.edu/...5011.pdf

O. K. Manuel
Ethelred
5 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2011
Look forward all you want Oliver. But there isn't evidence yet that supports OUR Sun being the source of the isotopes.

Answer please these questions three.

What evidence shows that OUR Sun and not another is the source of the isotopes. Reposting the same stuff that has never answered the question is just spamming the site.

What distinguishes neutron repulsion from the Pauli Exclusion Principle? There should be laboratory evidence please support your claim for the first ever.

What evidence is there for the Sun having an iron mantle? The image you are so found of has only trace iron and shows a dynamo process in action with the currents flowing in hydrogen and helium ions.

Again the usual crap is not an answer. Write something new as the old stuff is the stuff that needs evidence.

Ethelred
jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (1) Aug 14, 2011
I had to give oliver a 2 since he said confirm OR deny. Which is a step in the right direction as he's finally admitted that his stuff doesnt have any proof behind it.
I've noticed ethelred he always runs from those questions. I doubt we'll see him back in this thread. Maybe someday he'll muster up the courage to respond but right now he knows you got him pinned there.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2011
Oliver could, indeed should, make a prediction of what should be found if he was correct. Something that would distinguish his idea from the mainstream idea of a sun that was not ours went supernova and contributed new high atomic weight atoms.

Since Oliver also thinks the Universe is eternal that ALL suns started with a neutron star as its core he really should give a prediction that includes that idea. One thing I would expect would be accretions layers in smaller objects like comets or asteroids. An earlier, though rare, generation of asteroids should exist if Oliver was correct. Even metallic asteroids with an accretion of later condrite material. The metallic core would show it to be much older than the outer layers via uranium dating.

My NEW question is why has Oliver never made such a prediction since he has been thinking on this for decades. Of course that would make it harder for him to ignore the Black Sky problem for an eternal non expanding universes.

Ethelred
jsdarkdestruction
4 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2011
We are still waiting oliver. dont try to pretend you didnt see that post of ethelreds like you always do. I've got a question of my own too. Which apollo mission were you principal investigator for? do you have any way of proving it? i looked at many websites and read about the apollo missions and ive not seen your name mentioned at all in relation to any apollo mission and being the principal investigator.(well, besides your repeated claims of it, but thats far from proof.)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.