Spaceraft Begins Survey Of Asteroid

0 Shares

PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 12 (UPI) — NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has entered the first of four planned science orbits during the craft’s year-long visit to the asteroid Vesta, the space agency said.

Dawn started making detailed observations Thursday at 12:13 p.m. EDT, marking the official start of the first science-collecting orbit phase at Vesta, also known as the survey orbit, a release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said.

Survey orbit — the first and highest orbit, at a distance of about 1,700 miles above Vesta’s surface — will provide an overview or “big picture” perspective of the giant 328-mile-diameter asteroid.

The survey phase is planned to last 20 days, with Dawn making seven three-day orbits of the asteroid.

After that Dawn will thrust itself into a closer orbit, known as High Altitude Mapping Orbit in late September.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.