Exploring New Worlds with the Dawn Mission

Nov. 8 & 9

"Dawn's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail two of the largest objects in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. These objects, Vesta and Ceres, are actually protoplanets that have remained intact since their formation, preserving a unique record. Each body has followed a very different evolutionary path constrained by the diversity of processes that operated during the first few million years of solar system evolution. Upon completing Dawn's investigation at Vesta in July 2012, we will have a powerful new dataset to understand the formation and evolution of a building block of the terrestrial planets, an enhanced knowledge of the dynamics of solar system bodies in the earliest epoch, and a better understanding of what the Howardites-Eucrite and Diogenite meteorites from Vesta are telling us about its formation and geological history.

Dr. Carol Raymond
Dawn Deputy Principal Investigator, JPL