Explore Vesta With A New App For Citizen Scientists

Between July 2011 and September 2012, the Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt. Now you can explore all the data it collected in a tidy app called Trek that includes interactive maps, 3D-printable topography maps, and a video-game style interface to "fly" over the terrain. » 4/02/15 2:31am 4/02/15 2:31am

A Possible Explanation For The Mysterious Bright Spots On Ceres

The discovery of a bright spot on Ceres has given rise to lots of speculation. And now we've learned something new: it has a friend. The second spot is not quite as bright, but still weirdly reflective compared to the rest of the dwarf planet. The geological mystery keeps getting more interesting! » 2/25/15 7:40pm 2/25/15 7:40pm

The Complete History Of Ceres, The Planet (?) Between Mars And Jupiter

Over the last couple of weeks, the Dawn Spacecraft has been beaming back spectacular pictures of Ceres – a world, discovered more than a century before Pluto, about which we know very little. This is the story of its discovery, and humanity's impending visit to one of the last unexplored planetary bodies in the… » 2/23/15 11:00am 2/23/15 11:00am

This Is The Greatest View Of Dwarf Planet Ceres We Have Ever Seen

The Dawn spacecraft has done it: it is now taking the highest-resolution images of the dwarf planet Ceres that have ever been seen. Not only is this new image better than the historic Hubble Space Telescope image, but every new release will be better than the one before until it arrives in orbit this March. » 1/28/15 4:51pm 1/28/15 4:51pm

Dawn On Alternate Approach To Ceres After Cosmic Ray Hiccups Ion Drive

After 14 months at Vesta, the Dawn spacecraft swung around for its second mission target: Ceres. After a rogue cosmic ray jumbling the best laid plans in September, the spacecraft is in its approach phase to slip into orbit around Ceres on March 6, 2015 just a half-day behind schedule. » 12/31/14 2:41am 12/31/14 2:41am

An Incredibly Detailed Geologic Map Of Giant Asteroid Vesta

Appearing in the December issue of the journal Icarus, this beautiful geologic map of big ol' asteroid/minor-planet Vesta was created by a team led by planetary scientist David Williams, from data collected by NASA's Dawn spacecraft during its 15-month orbit of the oblong object between 2011 and 2012. » 11/20/14 7:00pm 11/20/14 7:00pm

Astronomers have spotted water plumes on dwarf planet Ceres

We've observed water on Ceres. The largest object in the asteroid belt, you may remember Ceres as the round, rock-ice body that was considered for reclassification as a planet in the midst of Pluto's demotion. Astronomers observed the water in the form of vapor plumes, possibly issuing from volcano-like geysers on… » 1/22/14 6:00pm 1/22/14 6:00pm

Could giant asteroid Vesta actually be a planet?

For years, scientists have been calling Vesta an asteroid. Granted, it's a big asteroid — at 330 miles across, it's the second biggest in the solar system — but NASA's Dawn spacecraft recently got its closest look at Vesta yet, and according to Dawn's principle investigator Christopher Russel, astronomers have been… » 3/23/12 1:15pm 3/23/12 1:15pm