NEWS & EVENTS
To Boldly GoŚWell, You Know: NASA's Dawn Mission to the Asteroid Belt
Friday, February 21, 2014 8:00 p.m. PST (after astronomy club meeting)
Forum at Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Road, Moorpark, CA
The ambitious and exciting Dawn mission, launched in September 2007, is one of NASA's most remarkable ventures into the solar system. The spacecraft has recently completed a spectacular exploration of Vesta and is now traveling to Ceres; these were among the last uncharted worlds in the inner solar system prior to Dawn. They are the two most massive residents of the main asteroid belt, that vast collection of bodies between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres is so large that it is included in the category of dwarf planets, along with Pluto. The alien landscapes Dawn reveals provide humankind with a new perspective on the solar system. Remnants from the time that planets were formed, Ceres and Vesta hold clues that will help scientists understand the dawn of the solar system.
Dawn orbited Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012 and returned astonishing views of this fascinating world. It is the only spacecraft ever to orbit an object in the asteroid belt and is the first ever targeted to orbit any two extraterrestrial destinations. Such a mission would be impossible without the use of ion propulsion, a technology that has mostly been in the domain of science fiction, but which was tested extensively on the Deep Space 1 mission, paving the way for Dawn.
Dr. Marc Rayman will give a fascinating and entertaining presentation on the Dawn mission and its use of ion propulsion as well as its two exotic destinations. He also will share the excitement and profundity of controlling a spacecraft in deep space.
San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering
March 19-22, 2014
San Diego, CA
Visit the Dawn booth at the San Diego Science & Engineering Festival, featuring a week of interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities, and dynamic speakers to engage kids and families in science and engineering.