SEP 09, 2018 7:35 PM PDT

The End of NASA's Dawn Mission is Rapidly Approaching

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft ventured away from Earth to study other bodies in the Solar System 11 years ago; that’s three years longer than anyone ever envisioned. During its investigations, scientists learned much about two of the largest objects in the Asteroid Belt: Ceres and Vesta.

The spacecraft personally visited each of these bodies, breaking free of the orbit of one to attend the next. In doing so, scientists grabbed unprecedented photographs and chemical analyses concerning the objects, which are believed to be relics of the early Solar System.

Despite what has been an incredible mission for space exploration thus far, Dawn is running out of hydrazine fuel, the propellant that allows the spacecraft to orient itself for proper communication with Earth.

NASA estimates that Dawn will use the last of its fuel by the end of 2018. At that time, the mission will end, and the spacecraft will no longer transmit signals to scientists on Earth.

For the scientists that made Dawn possible, the moment will be humbling, if not a bit melancholy.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 18, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2019
Say Hello to the Largest Star Ever Discovered
There are so many stars in the modern universe that we couldn’t ever hope to count them all. Many are so distant from us that we can’t even see...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
Do Nebulae Actually Look This Impressive?
Astronomers often turn to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope when they fancy observing any of the plethora of distant nebulae in outer space. Nebulae are...
JAN 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 05, 2020
It's Finally the Year of the Mars 2020 Mission
It’s officially 2020, and with that in mind, anyone paying attention to NASA’s launch schedule should know already that the Mars 2020 rover is...
JAN 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 20, 2020
SpaceX Demos Crew Dragon Launch Escape for NASA
SpaceX is one of two major players in NASA’s Commercial Crew program, an attempt to use third-party space companies to bring crewed space launches ba...
FEB 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 16, 2020
ISS Poised to Receive Fresh Supplies by Tuesday
Life on the International Space Station isn’t quite as convenient as it is for the rest of us here on Earth. With no convenient restaurants or conven...
MAR 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 17, 2020
This Supermassive Black Hole Ejected Matter Faster Than 99% the Speed of Light
Almost a year ago, astronomers released the first true image of a black hole. All efforts were focused on a supermassive black hole 50 million light-years...
Loading Comments...