Having explored the giant asteroid Vesta and on its way to the dwarf planet Ceres, the Dawn spacecraft is designed to conduct an in-depth and up-close study of these two celestial bodies believed to have formed early in the history of the solar system.
During its mission, Dawn will characterize the early solar system and the processes that shaped its formation. Data returned from the Dawn spacecraft could provide opportunities for significant breakthroughs in our knowledge of how the solar system formed.
July 15, 2011 PDT (July 16, 2011 EDT): Dawn arrived at the giant asteroid Vesta to begin science investigations.
Sept. 4, 2012 PDT (Sept. 5, 2012 EDT): Dawn departed the giant asteroid Vesta.
Early 2015: Dawn arrives at the dwarf planet Ceres to being science investigations.
- Framing camera
- Gamma ray and neutron detector
- Visible and infrared mapping spectrometer