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

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

A Rare Chunk Of Giant Asteroid Vesta Has Been Stolen

Giant asteroid Vesta is the second-biggest object in our solar system's asteroid belt, and the origin of an estimated 5% of Earth's meteorites. Yesterday, an especially rare chunk of Vesta recovered from the Netherlands in 1925 was reported stolen from the Sonnenborgh Museum and Observatory in Utrecht, Netherlands. » 8/20/14 12:26pm 8/20/14 12:26pm

The First Image Of An Asteroid As Seen From The Surface Of Mars

The Curiosity Rover has taken up a new hobby: astrophotography. Not content to merely photograph cool Martian rocks, the rover has captured the first image of an asteroid as seen from the surface of Mars. Nicely done, Curiosity! » 4/25/14 1:24pm 4/25/14 1:24pm

Leonard Nimoy is here to tell you about NASA's Ion-Thrusting Dawn…

With all the excitement over NASA's recent success (and plans for future missions) on Mars, people sometimes overlook the Agency's other deep space missions. And there are many. One of our favorites of these lesser-known (but still remarkable) missions is Dawn. » 1/07/13 1:34pm 1/07/13 1:34pm

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

Flag Designs for Earth & The Solar System in 2020 and Beyond

Redittor thefrek has designed a kick-ass series of flags for the Solar System and its planets. But flags, as we all know, change over time. So he's also created possible revisions for those flags reaching as far as 800 years into the future. » 3/23/12 9:30am 3/23/12 9:30am

Is Vesta a giant asteroid or a protoplanet?

Giant asteroid Vesta is so enormous, many astronomers don't even refer to it as an asteroid, preferring to call the celestial body a "protoplanet." This image, which compares Vesta to eight other asteroids that we've sent spacecraft to investigate, helps illustrate the reason such a distinction exists. » 12/21/11 7:00am 12/21/11 7:00am

Where in the solar system do these colorful meteorites come from?

Of course, much of the color in these images isn't natural, but instead the result of analysis by a polarizing microscope. But thanks to such analysis we know exactly where these space rocks came from: the solar system's weirdest asteroid. » 12/11/11 8:30am 12/11/11 8:30am

Ancient landslides shaped the magnificent cliffs of Vesta

Despite being only about 330 miles across, the asteroid Vesta features some of the biggest cliffs in the entire solar system. This new image from NASA's Dawn probe gives us one of the most striking looks yet at Vesta's cliffs. » 11/30/11 11:33am 11/30/11 11:33am

The solar system's second tallest mountain is hidden away on the weird…

The tallest peak in the solar system is Olympus Mons of Mars, three times taller than Mount Everest. But it's not as easy to say what the second tallest mountain is...but it might be found in the unlikeliest of places. » 10/05/11 7:40am 10/05/11 7:40am

Embark on a flyover of giant asteroid Vesta from the perspective of…

Feast your eyes on some of the latest vistas of Vesta, the second-most massive object in our solar system's main asteroid belt. » 9/20/11 3:39pm 9/20/11 3:39pm

First close-up photographs of giant asteroid Vesta reveal "Snowman"

Right now NASA's Dawn spacecraft is 114 million miles from Earth, orbiting thousands of miles above the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. And Dawn's been taking pictures. » 8/03/11 8:30am 8/03/11 8:30am

Asteroids are making Earth's weather unpredictable

Ceres and Vesta are two of the largest asteroids in the Belt, and their power extends far beyond the band of rocks they inhabit between Jupiter and Mars. Astronomers have discovered that these asteroids' gravitational effects introduced "strong chaos" into the Earth's orbit, making it impossible to know the exact… » 7/18/11 8:00am 7/18/11 8:00am

The strange case of the asteroid planet Vesta

Vesta is the asteroid belt's second largest object, but figuring out what it is has driven astronomers crazy. Is it an asteroid? A planet, perhaps a protoplanet? Whatever the answer, Vesta might just be the solar system's most important object. » 4/26/11 1:00pm 4/26/11 1:00pm