Dawn phones home before leaving Vesta

Posted by on Dec 7, 2012 in Science | 0 comments

The spacecraft Dawn just spent a year in orbit around an asteroid named Vesta.  What Dawn discovered is that Vesta is no ordinary asteroid but a protoplanet left over from the formation of our solar system.  Vesta has a core, mantle and crust much like Earth does, although significantly smaller since Vesta is approximately the size of Arizona.  Still this is a remarkable discovery.  Scientists have thought for a long time that the asteroid belt was debris, left over from the chaotic formation of the solar system.  Vesta is not debris but the seed of a planet.

Dawn is now on a two year journey to visit Ceres, designated a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt.  Who knows what amazing new things we will learn from there.

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