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STScI Public Lecture Series

Dawn: A Journey to the Early Solar System

Presented by: Lucy McFadden (Goddard Space Flight Center)
Category: Education and Outreach   Duration: 2 hours   Broadcast date: December 01, 2015
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NASA's Dawn mission was launched in 2007 on an circuitous journey to study the two largest members of the asteroid belt. The spacecraft visited Vesta in 2011-2012, and arrived at Ceres in 2015. The study of these objects tells a story about the early solar system in the region between Mars and Jupiter. Cameras, spectrometers and the precise location of the spacecraft have revealed geological, compositional and physical facts about Vesta from which we derive its evolutionary history over the past 4.5 billion years. Compared to Vesta, Ceres is twice as large, has a distinctly different density and composition, and did not suffer the massive collisions of the former. While there are no known meteorites on Earth that have come from Ceres, about 1 of every 7 meteorites on Earth is from Vesta. Come hear the latest findings from an ambitious asteroidal adventure.