Wither Dawn?

The Dawn spacecraft has chalked up some amazing discoveries in the time it’s been orbiting the dwarf planet 1 Ceres — the planet does not have the subsurface ocean that was anticipated, and its weird shiny spots are some type of salt (and planetary scientists are having spirited debates over what type of salt exactly).  But one thing we knew going on: thanks to the problem with Dawn’s reaction wheels, which forced it to expend more propellant to maintain orientation, Ceres would be Dawn’s final resting place.  Dawn would never be able to break orbit the way it left Vesta and go on to a third target.

Well, good news!  Turns out the mission controllers have been so fastidious with the propellant that there is way mor e left than they were expecting at this point.  They actually do have enough to leave Ceres orbit and go on to an incredible third target!  Which means that now they face a very difficult decision: to go or to stay?

If you were them, which would you pick?  Stay at Ceres, and continue investigating deeper and deeper into this strange world, or leave orbit and go on to a third target?


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