Nest Stop: The Dwarf Planet Ceres

Ceres In Sight : Image Credit NASA

2014 is not quite over with just yet, but it is not too soon to begin marking your calendars for what could be one of the most intriguing events of 2015, the arrival of the Dawn spacecraft at the dwarf planet Ceres.

Having already recorded a 14 month visit to the asteroid, or “proto-planet” Vesta before breaking orbit to head to Ceres, the ion powered Dawn spacecraft is closing in on an orbital insertion around the largest body in the main asteroid belt in March 2015.  If it turns out, as scientists believe to be the case, that Ceres is composed of mostly water ice, then that small dot shown in the over image may represent something much more important than just another heavenly body, a literal filling station in the sky, and a compelling target for eventual human exploration.

As we wait for Dawn to draw closer, here’s a look back at an image it took of what appear to be water ice tracings on Vesta in 2012. The story is here.

2012. Vestagullies

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1 Comment on "Nest Stop: The Dwarf Planet Ceres"

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  1. Pete says:

    After a long time, we’re seeing the hope of some really interesting data!

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