Flight over Ceres

June 08, 2015

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has reached its new observing position 4400 kilometers above the surface of dwarf planet Ceres. On 3 June, the spacecraft entered its new orbit, where it will spend the rest of the month. The spacecraft will conduct intensive observations of Ceres, completing orbits of about three days each.

A Flight over Ceres

The video published today is based on 80 shots of Ceres that were taken by the onboard Framing Cameras from Dawn's first mapping orbit, at an altitude of 13,600 kilometers, as well as the most recent navigational images taken from 5,100 kilometers. Analysis of overlapping images provided three-dimensional detail. The vertical dimension is exaggerated by a factor of two in the video.

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 Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK, Inc., of Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The framing cameras were provided by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen, Germany, with significant contributions by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The framing camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA.

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