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Dawn captures first image of nearing asteroid

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captures an image of the first nearing asteroid. The asteroid was named Vesta; when the spacecraft took the image it was approximately 1.21 kilometers (752,000 miles) away from Vesta. According to the first image the asteroid looks like a small bright star among other stars in its background. As we look closer we can come to the conclusion that the asteroid can be categorized as a protoplanet due to its large body that almost formed as a planet. NASA was extremely happy to finally find its target after a billion mile search. Vesta is 530 kilometers (330 miles) in diameter and the second largest object in the asteroid belt. Mission managers expect Vesta to capture Dawn into its orbit by its gravitational pull on July 16; in order for this to happen Dawn has to match the asteroid’s path around the sun. Science data will collected during the beginning of early August and it will be a collection of images helping scientist produce topographic maps. In 2015, Dawn will reach its second destination, Ceres, an even larger object in the asteroid belt. Secrets of our solar system can be revealed with the information gather from these two asteroids. Dawn’s instruments measure surface composition, topography, texture, and measure the tug of gravity from Vesta to Ceres; this will help us learn more about their internal structures.

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