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NASA’s Dawn probe falls silent, ending mission to mysterious dwarf planet Ceres

05 November 2018

Dawn can no longer keep its antennae trained on Earth to communicate with mission control or turn its solar panels to the Sun to recharge, it added.

NASA says the Dawn flight team checked through a number of possible causes for the lack of contact but the mission's managers realized that the spacecraft simply ran out of its hydrazine fuel.

"The awesome images and data received from Dawn at Vesta and Ceres, is essential to understanding the history and evolution of the Solar system", says Tubergen.

Dawn was launched in 2007 and arrived at its first destination-the asteroid Vesta-in the summer of 2011. That way, in case NASA wants to send a follow-up mission, Dawn will not collide with Ceres before they do, keeping the planet free from human-and bacterial-contamination.

"The fact that my car's license plate frame proclaims "My other vehicle is in the main asteroid belt" shows how much pride I take in Dawn", said Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is supposed to stay in orbit around Ceres for a decades, yet will never again able to speak with Earth. Now, an announcement from NASA confirms what we've been expecting for a few months: Dawn has run out of fuel, and the mission is finally over. Before joining Sun Star Times Andy has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN and the Huffington Post.

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Then it moved on to the dwarf planet Ceres in 2015, becoming the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet and the only spacecraft to orbit one, NASA said. It's not just large asteroids: these so-called proto-planet represent that era in the history of the Solar system, formed when her worlds.

"In many ways, Dawn's legacy is just beginning", said Dawn's principal investigator Carol Raymond.

This became the official completion of his mission and declared the assistant administrator of management of scientific missions NASA Thomas Zurbuchen in the official press release. Detailed readings from Dawn's suite of four science instruments led scientists to conclude that the spots were deposits of sodium carbonate, pushed up from the dwarf planet's interior.

Among the most astounding images were Dawn's views of Ceres' mysterious white spots, which reflected sunlight so brightly they were dubbed "alien headlights". Dawn's orbital path is stable enough to remain in orbit for at least 20 years, and engineers have more than 99 percent confidence the orbit will last for at least 50 years.

NASA’s Dawn probe falls silent, ending mission to mysterious dwarf planet Ceres