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Dawn departs from asteroid Vesta for Ceres


The last sequence of images NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained of the giant asteroid Vesta. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (BNS): NASA's Dawn spacecraft has escaped from the gentle gravitational grip of the giant asteroid Vesta and is now on its way to its second destination, the dwarf planet Ceres.

The spacecraft is expected to pull into its next port of call, Ceres, in early 2015, NASA said.

Dawn departed from Vesta at about 11:26 p.m. PDT on Tuesday (2:26 a.m. EDT on Sept. 5). Communications from the spacecraft via NASA's Deep Space Network confirmed the departure.

The spacecraft slipped into orbit around Vesta on July 15, 2011 after launching on 27 September 2007.

Over the past year, Dawn has comprehensively mapped this previously uncharted world, revealing an exotic and diverse planetary building block, NASA said.

The findings by Dawn are helping scientists unlock some of the secrets of how the solar system, including our own Earth, was formed.

Tags:

Dawn  Vesta  Ceres  

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