Dawn Spacecraft Will Take Pictures Of Its Target Asteroid Today
Artist’s conception of the Dawn spacecraft approaching the asteroid Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The year 2015 is going to be a big one for far-off spacecraft. Among them is the long-running Dawn mission, which is on its way to the asteroid Ceres (by way of Vesta) and should settle into orbit in April after a radiation blast delayed the original flight plan.
And today (Dec. 1) comes a special day for Dawn — when it turns its cameras to Ceres to capture the asteroid, which will appear about nine pixels across. The reason? Besides scientific curiosity, it turns out to be a perfect calibration target, according to NASA.
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