Officials from NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced in a newly released statement that the spacecraft Dawn is currently taking its last set of pictures primarily for navigation purposes. It is expected to enter its second mapping orbit around Ceres on June 3.
On May 23, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captured a new view of the dwarf planet that demonstrates that finer detail is now becoming more visible on Ceres. Dawn took the photograph from 3,200 miles away. It had a resolution of 1,600 feet per pixel.
This specific view reveals many secondary craters. They were reportedly created by the “re-impact” of various detritus from even larger impact areas.
As the spacecraft Dawn spirals lower in its mission to map the dwarf planet Ceres additional smaller details of the surface are becoming increasingly more visible. The area in the graphic included here is situated between 182° and 228° east longitude and 13° and 51° north latitude.
Following the transmittal of the above-mentioned group of images taken for navigational purposes back to Earth on May 23, the NASA spacecraft Dawn went back to its previous mission. Dawn is presently reported to be ion-thrusting its way onward towards its second mapping orbit.
In a matter of hours, on June 3, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will enter the second mapping orbit. At that time it will work the rest of the month monitoring the dwarf planet from 2.700 miles above the surface of Ceres.
The individual orbits will be approximately three days long. This way the Dawn spacecraft will be able to make a significant study of the dwarf planet.
NASA notes that the Dawn mission is the first one to not only visit a dwarf planet but also the first mission to orbit two different solar system targets since it observed the “protoplanet” Vesta for a total of 14 months back in 2011 and 2012.
Dawn Gets Closer To Ceres