Tag Archives: dwarf planet

Dawn’s chief engineer gives us a detailed update

Link here. Chief engineer Marc Rayman loves to write about Dawn, and his posts on the Dawn blog are probably the most information-packed of any spacecraft blog I have ever read. Key quote this time:

Dawn’s extensive photographic coverage of the sunlit terrain in early May will include these bright spots. They will not be in view, however, when Dawn spies the thin crescent of Ceres in its next optical navigation session, scheduled for April 10.

The orientation of the spacecraft and asteroid now are such that there is no point taking pictures, as most of the asteroid is in darkness.

Read it all, however. He gives a masterful overview of what is going to happen in the coming months.

The strange egg-shaped dwarf planet Haumea is apparently also covered with ice

Truly alien: The strange egg-shaped dwarf planet Haumea is apparently also covered with crystallised ice.

“Since solar radiation constantly destroys the crystalline structure of ice on the surface, energy sources are required to keep it organized. The two that we have taken into consideration are that able to generate radiogenic elements (potassium-40, thorium-232 and uranium-238) from the inside, and the tidal forces between Haumea and its satellites,” [explained] Benoit Carry, co-author of the study and a researcher at the ESAC Centre of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Madrid (Spain).