National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Dawn Space Probe arrived at Ceres on 6th March 2015 and become the first spacecraft ever to circle a Dwarf planet, as well as the first to orbit two bodies beyond the Earth-moon system. Previously Dawn studied the protoplanet Vesta up close from July 2011 through September 2012. Dawn is still in move and will be there for 6 more weeks.
The Dawn spacecraft
- Launched in 2007, the Dawn spacecraft was made to study of the two massive protoplanet of the astereoid belt: Vesta and Dwarf Planet Ceres.
- Dawn had been taking pics of Ceres since December 1 2014 and entered orbit around on 6th March 2015.
- The mission, which is costing NASA about $473 million, is the first to include stops at more than one extraterrestrial body.
- The spacecraft was designed and built by Orbital ATK.
- Mission Duration : 9 years
- It has created history by entering the unexplored planet.
- It is round like a planet, but really small. Its total surface would cover just a third of the United States.
- It is a largest object between asteriod belt of Mars and Jupiter.
- Since its discovery, Ceres was known as planet, then an asteriod and later as a Dwarf Planet.
- Ceres is roughly 4.5 billion years old, but was only discovered a little more than 200 years ago.
- It was a missing Planet for which scientist were struggling hard to find
Dwarf planet is a celestial body that,
- Orbits the sun.
- Has enough mass to assume a nearly round shape.
- Has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.
- Is not a satellite.
The first five recognized dwarf planets are Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea.