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Nasa Spacecraft Set To Probe Two Planet Wannabes


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NASA spacecraft set to probe two planet wannabes

Christian Science Monitor


"Among all the objects in the solar system, tiny Vesta and Ceres don't exactly turn heads. They orbit the sun in the asteroid belt, amid the solar system's refuse. They lack rings, red spots, or other adornments. They're just there. But what Vesta and Ceres lack in majesty they make up for in clues to how planets form, astronomers say. Moreover, Ceres may host an underground ocean suitable for simple forms of life. On Thursday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is set to launch Dawn, a spacecraft designed to orbit Vesta, then Ceres, beginning in August 2011. Armed with a camera and two other instruments, the craft will gather a wealth of chemical, mineral, and other data on these two starkly contrasting cases of planetary arrested development." (09/26/07)



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