Dawn glimpses Ceres' north pole

April 19, 2015
This animation shows the north pole of dwarf planet Ceres as seen by the Dawn spacecraft on April 10, 2015. Dawn was at a distance of 21,000 miles (33,000 kilometers) when its framing camera took these images. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

After spending more than a month in orbit on the dark side of dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured several views of the sunlit north pole of this intriguing world. These images were taken on April 10 from a distance of 21,000 miles (33,000 kilometers), and they represent the highest-resolution views of Ceres to date.

Subsequent images of Ceres will show surface features at increasingly better resolution.

Dawn arrived at Ceres on March 6, marking the first time a spacecraft has orbited a . Previously, the spacecraft explored giant asteroid Vesta for 14 months from 2011 to 2012. Dawn has the distinction of being the only spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial targets.

Ceres, with an average diameter of about 590 miles (950 kilometers), is the largest body in the between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn has been using its ion propulsion system to maneuver to its first science orbit at Ceres, which it will reach on April 23. The spacecraft will remain at a distance of 8,400 miles (13,500 kilometers) from the dwarf planet until May 9. Afterward, it will make its way to lower orbits.

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KBK
1 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2015
The most interesting thing of all is that orbital sciences... actually built this satellite at cost, no profit, they say. That they wanted this particular job so much, that they did it for -----nothing.

Taking a look at orbital's history and connections, might clear up some of the fog that surrounds this whole thing.
Returners
3 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2015
Wow. resolution will increase nearly triple by the time it reaches the next orbital distance on the 23rd, or 6.25 times the pixels per square region. The visual quality of shots from that distance are going to be very good.

Have they figured out the two "mystery spots" yet?
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (4) Apr 19, 2015
The most interesting thing of all is that orbital sciences... actually built this satellite at cost, no profit, they say. That they wanted this particular job so much, that they did it for -----nothing.

Taking a look at orbital's history and connections, might clear up some of the fog that surrounds this whole thing.

What is a fair price for bringing in new knowledge? It depends on how difficult this knowledge is to acquire.

Money has no real value; it is only a means to buy something. As for knowledge we know how much of a valuable resource it is and we exploit it very well.
Returners
1 / 5 (4) Apr 19, 2015
Gold is used as the reflective coating, and the collector on some space ships, and it has a physical, intrinsic value.

The knowledge gained by some missions is worth less than others. Have we benefited yet from knowledge gained from Voyager 1 and 2 OTHER than entertainment purposes? Not much really. They SHOULD have been done, but our benefits from those missions is relatively small compared to other missions that can be done right now.

It's time to stop orbiting and start SPECULATING for resources on asteroids and moons.
its
5 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2015
Gold is used as the reflective coating, and the collector on some space ships, and it has a physical, intrinsic value.


And that value is much less than gold bugs want to believe. The price of gold is mostly based on speculation, not intrinsic value.

I assume you are hinting at missions to for instance mine the asteroid belt. The truth is that with current technology, and the current state of resources on the Earth, it is far more profitable to just mine them here on Earth.
Returners
1 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2015
The price of gold is mostly based on speculation, not intrinsic value.


Agreed.

I assume you are hinting at missions to for instance mine the asteroid belt. The truth is that with current technology, and the current state of resources on the Earth, it is far more profitable to just mine them here on Earth.


Gold has uses in nano technology, medicine, and electronics that we haven't even seen yet. I just think it makes more sense to use it for good here than as a protective coating on a probe shot into deep space forever.

The James Webb telescope is eating up the funding of what could have been tens of other projects, and may not be worth it's weight in Gold by the time it gets launched anyway. And there's still the problem of actually launching the thing without failure. It's more than the combined price of New Horizons, a Uranus mission coming soon, a Jupiter mission, Curiosity and 3 other mars missions, and Dawn combined.....combined...
Returners
1 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2015
And they haven't even gotten first light nor launched yet; nevermind processing data which will take decades for some datasets if the thing ever even flies at this rate.

There's gotta be something better to do with billions of dollars and thousand pounds of gold foil.

You could fund and develop asteroid mining for the amount of money and resources they've spent on one telescope.
Returners
1 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2015
A billion dollars is enough to make 70 new 4A High Schools or Hospitals....seventy.

How many BILLION have they spent on space probes that don't have a chance in hell of ever producing a return in value?

Make profitable space industry and I'll quit complaining.
AGreatWhopper
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2015
"Returners1 /5 (3) Apr 19, 2015
Gold is used as the reflective coating, and the collector on some space ships, and it has a physical, intrinsic value."

No it doesn't. That's merely an artifact of our particular technologies and cultures. Many Meso-American societies had neither and regarded it as you would a semi-precious stone, calling it "The Excrement of the Gods". Sod has as much "intrinsic value" as gold. More, really. So, sod off.

And, since February, Orbital Sciences no longer exists. It was merged out and the resulting entity is called Orbital ATK. As for being free, it's about as free as Facebook. More Harvard Business School grads like Zuckerberg with the same business model: spend a lot of venture capital, present it as free, capture the majority of market share, then make a ton of money based on being a colossus.

"Make profitable space industry and I'll quit complaining."
Name ONE industry that went from the drawing board to being profitable overnigh
Uncle Ira
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2015
@ Returnering-Skippy. How you are Cher?

Make profitable space industry and I'll quit complaining.


Somehow I just don't believe you when you say that. I don't mean nothing personal by it non, but you just strike ol Ira-Skippy as the complaining-all-the-time type of guy.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2015
Latest image and from Dawn http://www.jpl.na...PIA19064
SuperThunderRocketJockey
5 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2015
A billion dollars is nothing to a country that has created $30 trillion in new wealth in the last six years. Any national inequality is artificial and due to greed (this has been studied by the Carter foundation for decades), not resource scarcity, the same greed that wants to put value on knowledge. Putting value on knowledge is... beyond my frame of reference for polite discourse. I would die to expand the human knowledge of the universe, the earth is not the equal of the sky and the Voyager probes are the greatest monuments to humanity yet made, far beyond anything political and terrestrial. Value is a human notion, the universe is not.

I admire the commitment it must take to consistently and cynically hate all things space exploration, but your convictions lack the discipline and internal consistency to meet your adversary : your own wilful ignorance.

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