NASA clicks closest ever snap of dwarf planet 'Ceres'
Features Friday, February 06, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 6, 2015 | 11:15 am IST NASA's Dawn spacecraft has acquired the latest and closest-yet snapshot of the mysterious world of dwarf planet Ceres. At a resolution of 14 kms per pixel, the pictures represent the sharpest images to date of Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft has entered an approach phase in which it will continue to close in on Ceres, a dwarf planet never visited before, NASA has said in December. The spacecraft is closing in on Ceres, using its advanced ion propulsion system to match solar orbits with the dwarf planet. 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 950 kms, is the largest object in the main asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn's arrival at Ceres orbit, which is scheduled for March 6, 2015, will mark the first time that a spacecraft has ever orbited two solar system targets The spacecraft, launched in 2007, previously explored the Vesta for more than a year, from 2011 to 2012, capturing detailed images and data about that celestial body. 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 Programme, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. With IANS Tweet Follow @thenewsminute