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NASA plans to send a probe into seven different asteroids

NASA plans to send a probe into seven different asteroids

"The astounding images and data that Dawn collected from Vesta and Ceres are critical to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system", Zurbuchen said.

Launched 27 September 2007, the Dawn machine was created to study the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. At that point it proceeded onward to the dwarf planet Ceres in 2015, turning into the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet and the only rocket to orbit one, NASA said.

"The fact that my car's license plate frame proclaims, 'My other vehicle is in the main asteroid belt, ' shows how much pride I take in Dawn", said mission director and chief engineer Marc Rayman at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

By the time the spacecraft ran out of fuel it had around 4.3 billion miles under its belt.

Because of the life-on-Ceres question, NASA chose to keep Dawn spinning in orbit rather than sending the probe down to crash onto the dwarf planet's pockmarked surface.

If you're feeling a sense of deja vu at this point, you may have read that the Kepler Telescope also ran out of fuel this week.

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"Today, we celebrate the end of our Dawn mission - its incredible technical achievements, the vital science it gave us, and the entire team who enabled the spacecraft to make these discoveries", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington in an agency press release. Before joining Sun Star Times Andy has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN and the Huffington Post.

While the spacecraft is dead, scientists will continue studying the precious data it beamed back to Earth. It's not just large asteroids: these so-called proto-planet represent that era in the history of the Solar system, formed when her worlds.

In addition to the main objectives of the mission by taking the unique sample of the asteroid, OSIRIS-REx will also study the surface and composition of the asteroid, measure the effects of sunlight on its orbit.

In 2016, NASA Osiris-Rex principal investigator Dante Lauretta said: "We're not anywhere near that kind of energy for an impact".

Dawn also detected an abundance of organic molecules in one of Ceres' craters, which might have come from the planet's ocean.

Shortly before Dawn used the last of its fuel, it maneuvered into a high, stable orbit, where scientists are confident it will stay for the next 50 years.


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