Dawn at Ceres!

Dawn has entered its initial parking orbit around Ceres, a broad loop that will take until April to pull it around to the sunward side.  Ceres is small, so an orbiting body cannot be moving too quickly around it or it will escape.  Here’s Dawn’s last picture before orbital capture:


This was captured March 1; due to the uniquely slow quality of the ion drive, it could not afford to spend any more time photographing — right now, Dawn’s main job is getting into its target orbit to begin science operations next month.

JPL has a nice video about Dawn’s mission to Ceres (which is of course it’s second mission; it completed its mission to Vesta about two and a half years ago):


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