Artist's concept of Dawn with Vesta (left) and Ceres (right). The proximity of Vesta to Ceres is not to scale.
|Major contractors||Orbital Sciences · JPL · UCLA|
|Mission type||Flyby / Orbiter|
|Launch date||September 27, 2007, 11:34:00 UTC
( 5 years, 232 days ago)
|Launch vehicle||Delta II 7925H|
|Launch site||Space Launch Complex 17B
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
|Mission duration||through July 2015|
|Flyby of||Mars (February 4, 2009)|
|Satellite of||Vesta (July 2011 – September 2012)
|Orbital insertion date||Vesta: July 16, 2011, 04:47 UTC
(1 year, 10 months, and 1 day ago)
Ceres: February 2015 (projected)
|Mass||1,240 kg (2,700 lb) (wet)|
|Power||1300 W (Solar array) at 3 AU|
Dawn is a robotic NASA spacecraft tasked with the exploration and study of Vesta and Ceres, the two largest members of the asteroid belt. Launched on September 27, 2007, the probe entered orbit around Vesta on July 16, 2011. Dawn left Vesta on September 5, 2012, on a course for Ceres, which it is scheduled to reach in February 2015.
Managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dawn is NASA’s first purely exploratory mission to use ion propulsion. The spacecraft was constructed with some European cooperation, with components contributed by partners in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Dawn was the first spacecraft to visit Vesta, and is scheduled to be the first to visit Ceres. If it successfully reaches Ceres, it will also be the first spacecraft to orbit two separate extraterrestrial bodies, using ion thrusters to travel between its targets. Previous multi-target missions using conventional drives, such as the Voyager program, were restricted to flybys.
Project history 
Initial cancellations 
The status of the Dawn mission changed several times. The project was cancelled in December 2003, and then reinstated in February 2004. In October 2005, work on Dawn was placed in "stand down" mode, and in January 2006, the mission was discussed in the press as "indefinitely postponed", even though NASA had announced no new decisions regarding its status. On March 2, 2006, Dawn was again cancelled by NASA.
The spacecraft's manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corporation, appealed NASA's decision, offering to build the spacecraft at cost, forgoing any profit in order to gain experience in a new market field. NASA then put the cancellation under review, and on March 27, 2006, it was announced that the mission would not be cancelled after all. In the last week of September 2006, the Dawn mission's instrument payload integration reached full functionality. Although originally projected to cost US$373 million, cost overruns inflated the final cost of the mission to US$446 million in 2007. The Dawn mission team is led by Christopher T. Russell.
Scientific background 
Ceres and Vesta were chosen as two contrasting protoplanets, the first one apparently "wet" (that is, icy and cold) and the other "dry" (or rocky), whose accretion was terminated by the formation of Jupiter. They provide a bridge in scientific understanding between the formation of rocky planets and the icy bodies of the Solar System, and under what conditions a rocky planet can hold water.
The IAU adopted a new definition of planet on August 24, 2006, which introduced the term "dwarf planet" for ellipsoidal worlds that were too small to qualify for planetary status by "clearing their orbital neighborhood" of other orbiting matter. If the IAU's definition stands and the spacecraft experiences no delays, Dawn will become the first mission to study a dwarf planet, arriving at Ceres five months prior to the arrival of the New Horizons probe at Pluto.
Ceres is a dwarf planet whose mass comprises about one-third of the total mass of the bodies in the asteroid belt, and whose spectral characteristics suggest a composition similar to that of a water-rich carbonaceous chondrite. Vesta, a smaller, water-poor achondritic asteroid, has experienced significant heating and differentiation. It shows signs of a metallic core, a Mars-like density and lunar-like basaltic flows.
Both bodies formed very early in the history of the Solar System, thereby retaining a record of events and processes from the time of the formation of the terrestrial planets. Radionuclide dating of pieces of meteorites thought to come from Vesta suggests that Vesta differentiated quickly, in only three million years. Thermal evolution studies suggest that Ceres must have formed some time later, more than three million years after the formation of CAIs (the oldest known objects of Solar System origin).
Moreover, Vesta is the source of many smaller objects in the Solar System. Most (but not all) V-type near-Earth asteroids, and some outer main-belt asteroids, have spectra similar to Vesta, and are thus known as vestoids. Five percent of the meteoritic samples found on Earth, the Howardite Eucrite Diogenite ("HED") meteorites, are thought to be the result of a collision or collisions with Vesta.
Peter Thomas of Cornell University has proposed that Ceres has a differentiated interior; its oblateness appears too small for an undifferentiated body, which indicates that it consists of a rocky core overlain with an icy mantle. There is a large collection of potential samples from Vesta accessible to scientists, in the form of over 200 HED meteorites, giving insight into Vestan geologic history and structure. Vesta is thought to consist of a metallic iron–nickel core, an overlying rocky olivine mantle, and a surface crust.
The Dawn mission's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the Solar System's earliest eon by investigating in detail two of the largest protoplanets remaining intact since their formation. The primary question that the mission addresses is the role of size and water in determining the evolution of the planets. Ceres and Vesta are highly suitable bodies with which to address this question, as they are the most massive of the protoplanets. Ceres is geologically very primitive and icy, while Vesta is evolved and rocky. Their contrasting characteristics are thought to have resulted from them forming in two different regions of the early Solar System.
There are three principal scientific drivers for the mission. Firstly, the Dawn mission can capture the earliest moments in the origin of the Solar System, enabling us to understand the conditions under which these objects formed. Secondly, Dawn determines the nature of the building blocks from which the terrestrial planets formed, improving our understanding of this formation. Finally, it contrasts the formation and evolution of two small planets that followed very different evolutionary paths, so that we can understand what controls that evolution.
An extended mission following the completion of the Ceres study is also possible, although unlikely, as greater scientific returns may be attained by spending more time at Vesta and Ceres. Although 2 Pallas would have been a feasible extended target for the originally scheduled launch date, launch delays have meant that this may no longer be the case. Fuel was not specifically allocated to break orbit from Ceres, so doing this depends upon the details of the flight to Ceres.
With its solar array in the retracted launch position, the Dawn spacecraft is 2.36 meters (7 feet, 9 inches) long. With its solar arrays fully extended, Dawn is 19.7 meters (65 ft) long.
Propulsion system 
The Dawn spacecraft is propelled by three xenon ion thrusters which inherited NSTAR engineering technology from the Deep Space 1 spacecraft. They have a specific impulse of 3,100 s and produce a thrust of 90 mN. The whole spacecraft, including the ion propulsion thrusters, is powered by a 10 kW (at 1 AU) triple-junction gallium arsenide photovoltaic solar array manufactured by Dutch Space. To get to Vesta, Dawn is allocated 275 kg (606 lb) of xenon, with another 110 kg (243 lb) to reach Ceres, out of a total capacity of 425 kg (937 pounds) of on-board propellant. With the propellant it carries, Dawn can perform a velocity change of more than 10 km/s over the course of its mission, far more than any previous spacecraft achieved with onboard propellant after separation from its launch rocket. Dawn is NASA’s first purely exploratory mission to use ion propulsion engines.
Dawn carries a memory chip bearing the names of more than 360,000 space enthusiasts. The names were submitted online as part of a public outreach effort between September 2005 and November 4, 2006. The microchip (about the size of a United States nickel coin) was installed on 17 May 2007 above the forward ion thruster, underneath the spacecraft's high-gain antenna. More than one microchip was made, with a back-up copy put on display at the 2007 Open House event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory provided overall planning and management of the mission, the flight system and scientific payload development, and provided the Ion Propulsion System. Orbital Sciences Corporation provided the spacecraft, which constituted the company's first interplanetary mission. The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) provided the framing cameras, the Italian Space Agency provided the mapping spectrometer, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory provided the gamma ray and neutron spectrometer.
- Framing camera (FC) — The framing camera uses 20 mm aperture, f/7.5 refractive optical system with a focal length of 150 mm. A frame-transfer charge-coupled device (CCD), a Thomson TH7888A, at the focal plane has 1024 × 1024 sensitive 93-μrad pixels, yielding a 5.5° x 5.5° field of view. An 8-position filter wheel permits panchromatic (clear filter) and spectrally selective imaging (7 narrow band filters). The broadest filter allows imaging from about 400 to 1050 nm. In addition, the framing camera will acquire images for optical navigation in the vicinities of Vesta and Ceres. The FC computer is a custom radiation-hardened Xilinx system with a LEON2 core and 8 GiB of memory. The camera will offer resolutions of 17 m/pixel for Vesta and 66 m/pixel for Ceres. Because the framing camera is vital for both science and navigation, the payload has two identical and physically separate cameras (FC1 & FC2) for redundancy, each with its own optics, electronics, and structure.
- Visual and infrared spectrometer (VIR) — This instrument is a modification of the visible and infrared thermal-imaging spectrometer used on the Rosetta and Venus Express spacecraft. It also draws its heritage from the Saturn orbiter Cassini's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer. The spectrometer's VIR spectral frames are 256 (spatial) × 432 (spectral), and the slit length is 64 mrad. The mapping spectrometer incorporates two channels, both fed by a single grating. A CCD yields frames from 0.25 to 1.0 μm, while an array of HgCdTe photodiodes cooled to about 70K spans the spectrum from 0.95 to 5.0 μm.
- Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRaND) — This instrument is based on similar instruments flown on the Lunar Prospector and Mars Odyssey space missions. It will be used to measure the abundances of the major rock-forming elements (oxygen, magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, titanium, and iron) on Vesta and Ceres, as well as potassium, thorium, uranium, and water (inferred from hydrogen content).
Mission summary 
On April 10, 2007, the spacecraft arrived at the Astrotech Space Operations subsidiary of SPACEHAB, Inc. in Titusville, Florida, where it was prepared for launch. The launch was originally scheduled for June 20, but was delayed until June 30 due to delays with part deliveries. A broken crane at the launch pad, used to raise the solid rocket boosters, further delayed the launch for a week, until July 7, and on July 15 the second stage was successfully hoisted into position. A mishap at the Astrotech Space Operations facility, involving slight damage to one of the solar arrays, did not have an effect on the launch date; however, bad weather caused the launch to slip to July 8. Range tracking problems then delayed the launch to July 9, and then July 15. Launch planning was then suspended in order to avoid conflicts with the Phoenix mission to Mars, which was successfully launched on August 4.
The launch of Dawn was rescheduled for September 26, 2007, then September 27, due to bad weather delaying fueling of the second stage, the same problem that delayed the July 7 launch attempt. The launch window extended from 07:20–07:49 EDT (11:20–11:49 GMT). During the final built-in hold at T−4 minutes, a ship entered the exclusion area offshore, the strip of ocean where the rocket boosters were likely to fall after separation. After commanding the ship to leave the area, the launch was required to wait for the end of a collision avoidance window with the International Space Station. The spacecraft finally launched at 07:34 EDT from pad 17-B on a Delta II launch vehicle, propelling Dawn to a velocity of 11.46 kilometers per second relative to Earth. Thereafter, Dawn's ion thrusters took over.
After initial checkout, during which the ion thrusters accumulated more than 11 days of thrust, Dawn began long-term cruise propulsion on December 17, 2007. On October 31, 2008, Dawn completed its first thrusting phase to send it on to Mars for a gravity assist flyby in February 2009. During this first interplanetary cruise phase, Dawn spent 270 days, or 85% of this phase, using its thrusters. It expended less than 72 kilograms of xenon propellant for a total change in velocity of 1.81 kilometers per second. On November 20, 2008, Dawn performed its first trajectory correction maneuver (TCM1), firing its number 1 thruster for 2 hours, 11 minutes. Following Dawn's solar conjunction, a course correction maneuver originally scheduled for January 2009 was determined to not be necessary.
Dawn made its closest approach (549 km) to Mars on February 17, 2009 during a successful gravity assist. On this day, the spacecraft placed itself in safe mode, resulting in some data acquisition loss. The spacecraft was reported to be back in full operation two days later, with no impact on the subsequent mission identified. The root cause of the event was reported to be a software programming error.
To cruise from Earth to its targets, Dawn traveled in an elongated outward spiral trajectory. NASA posts and continually updates the current location and status of Dawn online. The actual and estimated chronology is as follows:
- September 27, 2007: launch
- February 17, 2009: Mars gravity assist
- July 16, 2011: Vesta arrival (initial orbit)
- December 13, 2011: Vesta lowest orbit
- September 5, 2012: Vesta departure
- c. February 2015: Ceres arrival
- c. July 2015: End of primary operations
Vesta approach 
On May 3, 2011, Dawn acquired its first targeting image, 1,200,000 km from Vesta, and began its approach phase to the asteroid. On June 12, Dawn's speed relative to Vesta was slowed in preparation for its orbital insertion 34 days later.
Dawn was scheduled to be inserted into orbit at 05:00 UTC on July 16 after a period of thrusting with its ion engines. Because its antenna was pointed away from the Earth during thrusting, scientists were not able to immediately confirm whether or not Dawn successfully made the maneuver. The spacecraft would then reorient itself, and was scheduled to check in at 06:30 UTC on July 17. NASA later confirmed that it received telemetry from Dawn indicating that the spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Vesta. The exact time of insertion could not be confirmed, as it depended on Vesta's mass distribution, which has only been estimated.
Vesta orbit 
After being captured by Vesta's gravity and entering its orbit on July 16, 2011, Dawn moved itself to a lower, closer orbit by running its xenon ion rocket engine via solar power. On August 2, it paused its spiralling approach to enter a 69-hour survey orbit at an altitude of 2,750 km. It assumed a 12.3-hour high-altitude mapping orbit at 680 km on September 27, and finally entered a 4.3-hour low-altitude mapping orbit at 210 km on December 8, 2011.
In May 2012, NASA released the preliminary results of Dawn's study of Vesta, including estimates of the size of Vesta's metal-rich core, which is theorized to be 220 km across. NASA scientists furthermore stated that they believed Vesta to be the "last of its kind" – the only remaining example of the large planetoids that came together to form the rocky planets during the formation of the Solar System. In October 2012, NASA stated that data from Dawn had revealed the origin of anomalous dark spots and streaks on Vesta's surface, which were likely deposited by ancient asteroid impacts. In December 2012, it was reported that Dawn had photographed gullies on the surface of Vesta which appeared to have been eroded by flowing liquid, possibly even water.
Ceres approach 
Dawn was originally scheduled to depart Vesta and begin its journey to Ceres on August 26, 2012. However, a problem with one of the spacecraft's reaction wheels forced Dawn to delay its escape from Vesta's gravity until September 5, 2012. Dawn successfully escaped from the asteroid on this date. It is scheduled to arrive at Ceres in February 2015, five months prior to the arrival of New Horizons at Pluto; Dawn will thus be the first mission to study a dwarf planet at close range. Dawn's mission profile calls for it to enter orbit around Ceres at an initial altitude of 5,900 km. The spacecraft will reduce its orbital distance to 1,300 km after five months of study, then to 700 km after another five months.
See also 
- Comparable missions
- Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR)— 253 Mathilde flyby, orbited 433 Eros from 2000-2001
- Hayabusa— 25143 Itokawa rendezvous and sample return
- Rosetta (spacecraft)— 2867 Šteins and 21 Lutetia flyby, plans to orbit 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko
- Galileo probe— 951 Gaspra and 243 Ida flybys
- Other related articles
- "Dawn Spacecraft Successfully Launched". NASA. September 27, 2007.
- "Dawn departs Vesta to become first asteroid hopper". New Scientist. 6 September 2012.
- "NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Begins Science Orbits of Vesta". NASA. 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- Rayman, Marc; Fraschetti, Raymond, Russell (5). "Dawn: A mission in development for exploration of main belt asteroids Vesta and Ceres". Acta Astronautica 58 (11): 605–616. Bibcode:2006AcAau..58..605R. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2006.01.014. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- "NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Hits Snag on Trip to 2 Asteroids". Space.com. August 15, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Dawn Gets Extra Time to Explore Vesta". NASA. 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- "DAWN — A Journey to the Beginning of the Solar System". Dawn Mission Timeline. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
- "Dawn at Vesta Press Kit, p. 8". NASA. July 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- Ambrosiano, Nancy (2006-03-28). "NASA's Dawn mission is a go". Los Alamos National Laboratory. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- Chang, Alicia (2006). "NASA Asteroid Mission Won't Launch This Year". Space.com. Retrieved 2006-03-04.
- Clark, Stephen (2006). "Probe built to visit asteroids killed in budget snarl". Spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved 2006-03-04.
- "NASA reviewing canceled mission". CNN.com. March 16, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-03-21. Retrieved 2006-03-27.
- Geveden, Rex (2006). "Dawn Mission Reclama" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-03-27.
- Malik, Tariq (March 27, 2006). "NASA Reinstates Cancelled Asteroid Mission". Space.com. Retrieved 2006-03-27.
- "Dawn". NASA - National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- "DAWN Mission Objectives". NASA. Retrieved March 2010.
- Thomas B. McCord and Christophe Sotin (2005). "Ceres: Evolution and current state". Journal of Geophysical Research 110 (E5): E05009. Bibcode:2005JGRE..11005009M. doi:10.1029/2004JE002244.
- Calvin J. Hamilton. "Vesta". Retrieved 6 January 2013.
- Thomas, P. C.; Parker, J. Wm.; McFadden, L. A.; Russell, C. T.; Stern, S. A.; Sykes, M. V.; Young, E. F. (2005). "Differentiation of the asteroid Ceres as revealed by its shape". Nature 437 (7056): 224–6. Bibcode:2005Natur.437..224T. doi:10.1038/nature03938. PMID 16148926.
- Ghosh, A; McSween, Harry Y. (1998). "A Thermal Model for the Differentiation of Asteroid 4 Vesta, Based on Radiogenic Heating". Icarus 134 (2): 187. Bibcode:1998Icar..134..187G. doi:10.1006/icar.1998.5956.
- Sahijpal, S.; Soni, P.;Gagan, G. (2007). "Numerical simulations of the differentiation of accreting planetesimals with 26Al and 60Fe as the heat sources". Meteoritics & Planetary Science 42 (9): 1529–1548. Bibcode:2007M&PS...42.1529S. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2007.tb00589.x.
- Gupta, G.; Sahijpal, S. (2010). "Differentiation of Vesta and the parent bodies of other achondrites". J. Geophys. Res. (Planets) 115 (E8): E08001. Bibcode:2010JGRE..11508001G. doi:10.1029/2009JE003525.
- "Mission Objectives". JPL - NASA. 2006. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
- "Frequently asked questions". NASA. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "Dawn Mission". JPL. NASA. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- "Dawn, Ion Propulsion". NASA. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "Dawn, Spacecraft". NASA. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "Dawn Solar Arrays". Dutch Space. 2007. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- "Dawn: Mission description". UCLA Space Physics Center. 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- Watanabe, Susan (2007-07-05). "Dawn: Spacecraft & Instruments". NASA. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
- "Dawn Lifts Off". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "All Aboard the Dawn Spacecraft". JPL.NASA.gov. May 20, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-21.
- "Send Your Name to the Asteroid Belt". JPL.NASA.gov. November 4, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2007-06-21.
- "Kennedy Media Gallery". KSC.NASA.gov. May 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-21.
- Sierks, et al. – The Dawn Framing Camera: A Telescope En Route to the Asteroid Belt - MPS/DLR/IDA
- Sierks, H.; Keller, H. U.; Jaumann, R.; Michalik, H.; Behnke, T.; Bubenhagen, F.; Büttner, I.; Carsenty, U. et al. (2011). "The Dawn Framing Camera". Space Science Reviews. Bibcode:2011SSRv..tmp...20S. doi:10.1007/s11214-011-9745-4.
- Sanctis, M. C.; Coradini, A.; Ammannito, E.; Filacchione, G.; Capria, M. T.; Fonte, S.; Magni, G.; Barbis, A. et al. (2010). "The VIR Spectrometer". Space Science Reviews. Bibcode:2010SSRv..tmp..103D. doi:10.1007/s11214-010-9668-5.
- "Science Payload". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- "GRaND science instrument moves closer to launch from Cape". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Righter, Kevin; Drake, Michael J. (1997). "A magma ocean on Vesta: Core formation and petrogenesis of eucrites and diogenites". Meteoritics & Planetary Science 32 (6): 929–944. Bibcode:1997M&PS...32..929R. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.1997.tb01582.x.
- Drake, Michael J. (2001). "The eucrite/Vesta story". Meteoritics & Planetary Science 36 (4): 501–513. Bibcode:2001M&PS...36..501D. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2001.tb01892.x.
- Prettyman, Thomas H. (2004). "Mapping the elemental composition of Ceres and Vesta: Dawn[quotation mark]s gamma ray and neutron detector". Proceedings of SPIE 5660. p. 107. doi:10.1117/12.578551.
- . Bibcode:2003ITNS...50.1190P. doi:10.1109/TNS.2003.815156. Missing or empty
- Oberg, James (September 27, 2007). "Spacecraft’s ion drive gets its day in the sun". msnbc.com. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report". NASA. 2007-05-11.
- NASA. "Dawn arrives in Florida". Spaceflight Now.
- "Dawn at Astrotech's Payload Processing Facility". Space and Astronautics News.
- "Launch of Dawn asteroid mission postponed again". NewScientistSpace.
- "Pad 17 crane to be fixed mid-week". Florida Today.
- "Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report". June 18, 2007.
- "NASA Mission to Asteroid Belt Rescheduled for September Launch". NASA. July 7, 2007.
- "Dawn Launch Date". NASA launch schedule. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- "Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report". NASA. September 7, 2007.
- "NASA's Launch Blog". NASA. September 27, 2007.
- "ULA—One Team for Assured Access to Space" (PDF). ulalaunch.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- "NASA's Launch Coverage". NASA. September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- "Dawn Spacecraft Successfully Launched". NASA. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Rayman, Marc D. (August 24, 2008). "Dear Dawnivores". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Rayman, Marc D. "Dawn Journal: December 17, 2007". JPL. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Rayman, Marc D. "Dawn Journal: Aiming away from a bull's eye at Mars". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Malik, Tariq (February 18, 2009). "Asteroid-Bound Probe Zooms Past Mars". Space.com. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- "Dawn Receives Gravity Assist from Mars". NASA/JPL. 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- "Dawn Spacecraft Current Location". Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- "GSpace Topics: Dawn". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- "NASA's Dawn Captures First Image of Nearing Asteroid". NASA. May 11, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "View of Vesta from Dawn". MYSTIC simulator (updated periodically). Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- Wall, Mike (July 16, 2011). "NASA Spacecraft Now Orbiting Huge Asteroid Vesta ... Hopefully". Space.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Amos, Jonathan (17 July 2011). "Dawn probe orbits asteroid Vesta". BBC.
- Vega, Priscilla; Brown, Dwayne (July 16, 2011). "NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around Asteroid Vesta". NASA. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Dawn Mission > Mission Status > 2011. JPL.
- The Dawn Mission to Vesta and Ceres. Space Science Reviews, Volume 163, Numbers 1-4 (2011), 3-23, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-011-9836-2, via SpringerLink. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
- Spacegrant.org (PDF).
- "Asteroid Vesta is 'last of a kind' rock". BBC. 11 May 2012.
- "Incredible video 'fly-over' by Nasa's Dawn probe reveals huge rippled asteroid Vesta is more like a small planet". Daily Mail. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Probes Proto-Planet Vesta, Discovers Deposits that Give Scientists Insight into the Origins of the Solar System". Latino Post. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Dawn probe spies possible water-cut gullies on Vesta". BBC. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- Staff, Space.com. "NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Says Goodbye to Giant Asteroid Vesta". Yahoo.com. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "'Dawn has departed the giant asteroid Vesta'". NASA/JPL. 2012-09-05.
- "'Dawn Engineers Assess Reaction Wheel'". 2012-08-18.
- Rayman, Marc (2006-07-13). "Dawn: mission description". UCLA—IGPP Space Physics Center. Archived from the original on 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
Media related to Dawn (spacecraft) at Wikimedia Commons
- Dawn mission home page at JPL
- Dawn mission home page at NASA
- Visual and Infrared Spectrometer Instrument at INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica)
- Dawn Framing Camera at Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research
- Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer for Dawn, short paper on the instrument, from 37th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference