NASA's Mission To Explore and Orbit Vesta and Ceres


The astronomy group of NASA has launched a new mission named Dawn! Dawn is one of NASA's spacecraft/satellite missions that is in progress. It had left Earth in September of 2012, about 9 months ago. It will land on the dwarf planet, not quite a planet, Ceres in the first few months of 2015. After Ceres, it will head to the large, moon-shaped meteor called Vesta. It has mysterious, black substances on it's surface, and NASA wants to check it out. Dawn will most likely be returning in 8-10 years, around 2021-2023.


The people involved with NASA's Dawn mission are the Dawn Scientists, the Dawn Flight Operators, and the the Dawn Education and Public Outreach Team. There are a lot of people involved in the Dawn mission, and they are all divided into many teams. These teams come together in one large team to make the Dawn mission possible. NASA is really working hard on this project. They hope that they can learn and teach more and more about space every day.


The goal of the launched mission, Dawn, is to inspect the dwarf planet of Ceres and the asteroid Vesta by orbiting them for long periods at a time. They may have stumbled upon Vesta when observing a star or other object in space. After those are completed, the spacecraft called Dawn will travel past Mars for the second time, take even more pictures, and land back on Earth. This will provide a lot of information to NASA and it will be used to learn more about space. Maybe these will lead to a new discovery of an element or something similar. Hopefully they make a grand discovery.


Ceres is a type of planet, a dwarf planet, that is found in our solar system along with Vesta. Vesta is an asteroid, maybe mistaken as a star, that was found by NASA. Maybe they used a telescope or something else, but it is definitely a meteor. They are very far away considering it will take 8-10 years to get there, orbit, and come back. Hopefully there is something interesting, or it will be a big waste of time and money.


Vesta and Ceres are very far away, so this will be a lengthy space mission, but well worth it. Dawn left Earth in September 2012, and is to complete it's entire mission by 2021-2023. By then, NASA hopes that Dawn will have discovered something on Vesta or Ceres to make a groundbreaking discovery. There is a black spot on Vesta, and NASA is checking that out first when Dawn starts orbiting Vesta. I think it could be some kind of new substance, but that's just me.


Dawn is being sent out into space for a few major reasons. One of those reasons is to orbit the dwarf planet, Ceres, and learn more about that dwarf specifically and to learn more about dwarf planets in general. Another reason Dawn is being sent out is to orbit the mysterious asteroid, Vesta, that is covered in a dark substance. The last reason in to fly by Mars on the way out and the way in to photograph it for analysis.


Dawn is made possible by all of the teams listed before and government funding. Without the people who made and maintain Dawn, it would not be possible. Dawn is just one of many NASA missions that is maintained on a daily basis. All of the things being done to contribute to Dawn are necessary, and once again, without those things, Dawn would fail. NASA is wondering what to do if the black substance on Vesta is something special, but that is a while away. I am wondering what that stuff is.


By researching this topic, I have learned that NASA wonders just like anybody else. They saw Vesta and were curious, so they are planning to orbit that and Ceres, a dwarf planet. When they wonder, they go on a mission to research and find out what they want. I have also learned that there are many mysterious things in space that humans have not yet discovered, such as Vesta's black substance, which may be new. I think it is amazing how NASA can send out a spacecraft to orbit two things on one trip, as well as photograph a few things on the side. NASA is awesome and really teach a lot about the place just barely discovered, space.

Extra Information

Vesta is a large asteroid located in the Asteroid Belt, an additional location being searched by the Dawn spacecraft. It is very similar to our Moon in shape and other ways, but it is just an asteroid. Ceres is made up of three major components: Thin dust, water ice, and hard rock. Ceres is a very diverse dwarf planet, actually containing a frozen water source. It takes about 4.6 years, on Earth, to complete one revolution of Ceres, just one of many dwarf planets in our galaxy. NASA wishes to learn more about this dwarf planet by using the Dawn mission.
NASA Dawn Mission to Vesta