NASA Spacecraft To Enter Large Asteroid's Orbit On July 15

On July 15, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will begin a prolonged encounter with the asteroid Vesta, making the mission the first to enter orbit around a main-belt asteroid.

NASA Spacecraft To Enter Large Asteroid's Orbit On July 15

 
 
NASA Spacecraft To Enter Large Asteroid's Orbit On July 15
 
 
PASADENA, Calif. -- On July 15, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will begin a prolonged encounter with the asteroid Vesta, making the mission the first to enter orbit around a main-belt asteroid.

The main asteroid belt lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will study Vesta for one year, and observations will help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system's history.

As the spacecraft approaches Vesta, surface details are coming into focus, as seen in a recent image taken from a distance of about 26,000 miles (41,000 kilometers). The image is at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dawn/multimedia/dawn-image-070911.html

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