How Far Away Is Dawn On Its Space Mission?

As of February 28, 2013 Dr. Marc D. Rayman updated the Dawn Mission | Dawn Journal and answers this question.  The update is quite informative with the latest in Dawn’s travels, how well its doing with the ion propulsion system to help speed it along; and also comes with analogies to help you understand the infinitesimal distances Dawn is traveling since its launch into space September of 2007.

On an 8 year space exploration journey, Dawn’s main mission is to visit Vesta and Ceres.  Objective:  A mission for exploration of main belt asteroids Vesta and Ceres, to acquire data to help answer questions regarding the formation and evolution of the solar system.

Back in 2006, the Dawn Project fabricated a chip to be carried on the spacecraft.  The chip was imprinted with the name of each person who wanted to have a part in Dawn’s adventure.  I was fortunate enough to meet the deadline and enlisted my father’s name (in his memory) and received an “Asteroid Belt Certificate” with his name on it.  “Congratulations “GDR” (abbreviated here for privacy)!  Your name is traveling aboard the Dawn spacecraft on its mission to the Asteroid Belt.”  Today, almost 6 years later, the Dawn member chip is approximately 212 million miles from earth.

“Radio signals, traveling at the universal limit of the speed of light, take 38 minutes to make the round trip.”

Please take a moment to enlighten yourself on this wild and educational journey.

An Interesting Bit on Earth’s Radioactivity

Amplify’d from www.newscientist.com

Best ever measurement of Earth’s radioactivity

Ghostly subatomic particles streaming from Earth’s interior have enabled the most precise measurement yet of our planet’s radioactivity.

These particles, called antineutrinos, suggest that about half of Earth’s heat comes from the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium – and give clues to the location of geological stashes of these elements.

Read more at www.newscientist.com

 

Spectacular T-L Video of Australia Night Sky

This is by far and wide the best #time-lapse video (EVER) that I have seen by a “hobbyist.”  Bravo to Alex Cherney, hobbyist astronomer in Melbourne, AUS.  His website is http://www.terrastro.com and his images are for sale at RedBubble.com.  Do a search on his name and his work should result for you. There are a few short videos at his Terrastro site but this one comes via an article at Wired.com by Danielle Venton on July 6, 2011.  If you have about 2 mins and want to unwind, play this in full screen for great effect.  Blew my hair back.  😉

Not sure if I can embed here so here are some links:

Ocean Sky from Alex Cherney on Vimeo.

Otherwise:  Enjoy full article at Wired by clicking here.

Peace!