SEP 09, 2018 07:35 PM PDT

The End of NASA's Dawn Mission is Rapidly Approaching

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
AUG 22, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 22, 2018
NASA's InSight Spacecraft is Halfway to Mars, and Everything is Working
Just this week, NASA announced a significant milestone regarding the space agency’s InSight mission. The spacecraft, which launched from California&r...
SEP 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 19, 2018
RemoveDebris Spacecraft Successfully Nets a Piece of Space Junk
Experts approximate that there’s around 7.5 metric tons’ worth of space junk swirling around our planet. Most of this junk is comprised of dead...
OCT 16, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 16, 2018
NASA Astronaut Nick Hague Describes Experience From Failed Soyuz Launch
Just last week, a Russian rocket tasked with sending NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to the International Space Station f...
OCT 29, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 29, 2018
Here's How NASA Tests Martian Parachutes
NASA uses parachute systems throughout the solar system to ensure spacecraft land safely on other planetary bodies. One of the most prominent examples is M...
NOV 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 05, 2018
NASA Waves Goodbye to its Asteroid Belt-Centric Dawn Mission
In 2007, NASA launched the Dawn mission to explore the Asteroid Belt between the planets of Mars and Jupiter. The Dawn spacecraft was employed to study two...
NOV 14, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 14, 2018
Barnard's Star May Host an Exoplanet After All...
At six light-years away from Earth, Barnard’s Star holds the title of the second-closest stellar neighbor to our solar system. Astronomers have long...
Loading Comments...