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Jun 2, 2018

NASA’s Dawn probe is about to get into its closest orbit yet around the dwarf planet Ceres

<em>An artistic rendering of Dawn at Ceres</em>

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which is orbiting around the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt, is about to get closer to this celestial object than ever before. In early June, Dawn will get to its final orbit around Ceres — an elliptical path that will take the probe 10 times closer to the surface than it’s ever been. The spacecraft will collect new, more precise data from this orbit until its fuel runs out sometime this fall.

That will bring an end to the Dawn mission, which has been going strong for over a decade now. Launched in 2007, the Dawn spacecraft traveled for years to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, first visiting an asteroid named Vesta in 2011. After orbiting Vesta for a year, the probe then traveled to Ceres,...

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