2015: NASA’s Year of the Dwarf Planet
Two spacecraft, Dawn and New Horizons, will reach their final objectives in 2015 – Dwarf Planets Ceres and Pluto, respectively. (Credit: NASA, Illustration – T.Reyes)
Together, the space probes Dawn and New Horizons have been in flight for a collective 17 years. One remained close to home and the other departed to parts of the Solar System of which little is known. They now share a year and a common destination: dwarf planets.
At the time of these NASA probes’ departures, Ceres had just lost its designation as the largest asteroid in our Solar System. Pluto was the ninth planet. Both probes now stand to deliver measures of new data and insight that could spearhead yet another revision of the definition of planet.
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© Tim Reyes for Universe Today, 2014. |
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