As the Dawn spacecraft approaches its next target, the dwarf planet Ceres, the first of many pictures has started to arrive.
Although not spectacular, it is the closest image of Ceres taken to date.
The mission was delayed slightly in September, when a high-energy particle event forced Dawn into safe mode to be…well, safe. Shutting down all systems, including the ion drive.
Now that the event has passed, the ion engine is once again propelling Dawn to its second rendezvous.
Once in orbit, scientist can confirm an earlier finding that Ceres is generating plumes of water vapor.
Data from the no longer operational Herschel infrared space telescope found the water vapor, and shortly will be able to analyze new data regarding the phenomenon.
This is a great opportunity where one probe can help focus the science of another.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.