Air & SpaceScience

Dawn Probe Explores Ceres

Ceres Proto-Planet

Ceres is the largest body between Mars and Jupiter; the US space agency’s Dawn probe has finally reached Ceres and is now in orbit. This was confirmed today at 13:36 GMT when the satellite sent a signal. In the history of space exploration, Ceres is now the first dwarf planet to be orbited by a spacecraft.

Our Solar system began 4.5 billion years ago and researchers are now hoping to find vital information which may lead them to many unanswered questions. The US space agency’s Dawn probe took seven and a half years to reach Ceres; scientists were waiting keenly for it to reach the dark side of Ceres. Scientists believe that there might be amazing developments through this event.

Though the probe is now in orbit, the “prime science phase” will commence in a month when the controllers will reshape the orbit. The goal is to go down in the orbit so that the probe could take images; scientists believe that the probe will need to be a few hundred km above the surface to be able to get good images.

The scientific community is thrilled with this event but the probe is on its reserve and it only has a few years of energy left.

Ceres is what scientists call a “proto-planet”, it has a rocky core which is topped with ice, Ceres merged with objects to form a planet. Ceres could not attain the next level of planetary evolution but the planet is old and has been there since the beginning of our solar system.

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