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NASA’s Dawn captures closest-yet images of Ceres

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NASA's spacecraft Dawn credit: www.nasa.gov
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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

NASA’s orbital spacecraft Dawn has sent the closest images of the dwarf planet called Ceres. The stunning pictures display Ceres’ cater formation features with tall conical mountains and narrow braided fractures on it.

credit: www.nbcnews.com
credit: www.nbcnews.com

“Dawn’s view is now three times sharper than its previous mapping orbit, revealing exciting new details of this intriguing dwarf planet,” said Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer and mission director at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

At its current orbital altitude of 1,470 km, Dawn takes 11 days to capture and return images of Ceres’ whole surface. Over the next two months, the spacecraft will map the entirety of Ceres six times. The spacecraft is using its framing camera to extensively map the surface, enabling 3-D modelling. Every image from this orbit has a resolution of 450 feet per pixel, and covers less than one percent of the surface of Ceres.

At the same time, Dawn’s visible and infra-red mapping spectrometer is collecting data that will give scientists a better understanding of the minerals found on Ceres’ surface. Engineers and scientists will now refine their measurements of Ceres’ gravity field which will help mission planners in designing Dawn’s next orbit.

Dawn is the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet, and also the first to orbit two distinct solar system targets. In late October, Dawn will begin spiralling toward the final orbit, which will be at an altitude of 375 km.

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Parker Solar Probe Sets Record For Getting Closest To The Sun: NASA

Launched in August, Parker is on track to set another record late Monday night.

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Parker solar probe, NASA
This image made available by NASA shows an artist's rendering of the Parker Solar Probe approaching the Sun. VOA

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever gotten.

Parker on Monday surpassed the record of 26.6 million miles (43 million kilometers) set by Helios-2 back in 1976. And it will keep getting closer to the sun until it flies through the corona, or outer atmosphere, for the first time next week, passing within 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) of the solar surface.

Parker Solar Probe, NASA, mercury
This illustration from NASA shows the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun. VOA

Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers).

Also Read: New Gamma-Ray Collection Named After Hulk, Godzilla: NASA

Launched in August, Parker is on track to set another record late Monday night. It will surpass Helios-2’s speed record of 153,454 miles per hour (247,000 kilometers per hour), relative to the sun. (VOA)