NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Gets a Closer View of Ceres

 Dawn Gets Closer Views of Ceres

This animation showcases a series of images NASA’s Dawn spacecraft took on approach to Ceres on February 4, 2015 at a distance of about 90,000 miles (145,000 kilometers) from the dwarf planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has acquired its latest and closest-yet snapshot of Ceres.

At a resolution of 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel, the pictures represent the sharpest images to date of Ceres.

After the spacecraft arrives and enters into orbit around the dwarf planet, it will study the intriguing world in great detail. Ceres, with a diameter of 590 miles (950 kilometers), is the largest object in the main asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter.

Dawn’s mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate’s Discovery Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The framing cameras were provided by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen, Germany, with significant contributions by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The visible and infrared mapping spectrometer was provided by the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, built by Selex ES, and is managed and operated by the Italian Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome. The gamma ray and neutron detector was built by Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, and is operated by the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona.

2 Comments on "NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Gets a Closer View of Ceres"

  1. Why are the images such poor quality, when the craft is well within our own lunar orbital distance, and even from earth the cheapest binoculars show lunar detail better than this, presumably top quality lensing device. Admittedly Ceres is only 1/4 the diameter of the moon, but even so, they should be better than this, shouldn’t they?

    • Bill Ottinger | May 28, 2015 at 11:28 am | Reply

      Yeah, the image should be alot clearer I should think. You would think that with the equipment that NASA has it would be alot clearer. I think they don’t want us to see something, especially the bright spots!

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