The asteroid probe lost contact with dawn, and NASA lost two major leaders this week.

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 The asteroid probe lost contact with dawn, and NASA lost two major leaders this week.


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NASA announced on November 1 that the Dawn asteroid probe, which had been orbiting Vesta and Ceres, had died of fuel exhaustion.

Today, we celebrate the end of the Dawn mission, its incredible technological achievements, the vital scientific data it provides us, and the entire team that enables spacecraft to accomplish its mission, said Thomas Zubqin, deputy director of NASAs Science Mission Council in Washington, D.C. (ThomasZurbuchen) it is stated in a statement.

Dawns images and data collected from Vesta and Ceres are crucial to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system, Zubqin said.

The retirement of dawn is the second blow to space enthusiasts after the Kepler space telescope. NASA just announced on Tuesday that the Kepler Space Telescope will move in a week or two and has so far discovered 70% of exoplanets.

The $467 million Dawn mission was launched in September 2007 to study the protoplanet Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres, which are about 330 miles (530 kilometers) in diameter and 590 miles (950 kilometers) in diameter, respectively. Scientists believe that these two celestial bodies are the remnants of the solar system planets.

The dawn came to Vesta in July 2011 and then orbited its orbit for 14 months. The work of the probe reveals many details about Vesta. For example, liquid water once flowed over the surface of the original planet (probably caused by meteorite impact causing ice melting). In addition, Dawn also found a peak near Vestas Antarctic, almost as high as the famous Olympus volcano on Mars.

Dawn left Vesta in September 2012 and arrived at Ceres in March 2015, becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit a dwarf planet and the first spacecraft to orbit two objects outside the Earth-Moon system. Mission team members said the feat of space flight was accomplished by the Dawn super-efficient ion engine.

Marc Rayman, Mission Director and chief engineer of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said in the same statement: We have very high requirements for Dawn, but we face many challenges every time.

Dawn also found some interesting spots on Ceres. Task team members determined that the brightening substances were salt, probably left when underground saltwater boiled and evaporated into space.

Task team members said that these bright spots did not take long to form, suggesting that Ceres has been hiding liquid water for some time in the past, and may even retain part of it today. In particular, considering another discovery of Dawn, Ceres is of far-reaching significance to astrobiologists: the probe found organic molecules on the surface of Ceres, known as carbon-based components of life.

In addition, Dawn also discovered a 2.5-mile-high (4-kilometer-high) Gushan, which is by far the highest topography on the dwarf planet. The mountain was later called Ahuna Mons, and mission scientists say it may have been a low-temperature volcano formed over the past few hundred million years.

In many ways, Dawns legacy has just come into play, Carol Raymond, the chief researcher on the mission, said in the same statement. Dawns collection of data will be devoted to studying how planets grow and differentiate and under what conditions life may form. Ceres and Vesta are also important for the study of distant planetary systems, because they allow us to see possible conditions around young stars.

After two consecutive days of disconnection, the mission team concluded that the hydrazine of Dawn had been used up because the detector missed the scheduled communication registration yesterday (31 October) and today. Hydrazine is the fuel used in Dawns pointing thruster, so the spacecraft can no longer locate itself to study Ceres, transmit data to Earth or charge its solar panels. Dawn will remain in orbit around Ceres for at least 20 years, or even longer. Task team members said the probe would not spiral down to the surface of Ceres for at least the next 50 years, a possibility of more than 99%. The death of dawn and Kepler is not surprising. In the past few months, the task force has learned that the fuel of the two spacecraft is running out. Source: NetEase science editor: Wang Fengzhi _NT2541

After two consecutive days of disconnection, the mission team concluded that the hydrazine of Dawn had been used up because the detector missed the scheduled communication registration yesterday (31 October) and today. Hydrazine is the fuel used in Dawns pointing thruster, so the spacecraft can no longer locate itself to study Ceres, transmit data to Earth or charge its solar panels.

Dawn will remain in orbit around Ceres for at least 20 years, or even longer. Task team members said the probe would not spiral down to the surface of Ceres for at least the next 50 years, a possibility of more than 99%.

The death of dawn and Kepler is not surprising. In the past few months, the task force has learned that the fuel of the two spacecraft is running out.