Dawn: A Discovery Mission to Vesta and Ceres
Community Forum
March 11

NASA has selected the proposed Dawn Discovery mission for a concept study leading to a Step 2 proposal. Dawn uses solar electric propulsion to fly to both Vesta and Ceres orbiting each for a period of nine months. The spacecraft carries a framing camera, a mapping spectrometer, a gamma ray/neutron spectrometer, a laser altimeter and a magnetometer. Vesta is a dry, differentiated asteroid with a basaltic crust and is the presumed parent body of the HED meteorites. Ceres appears to be wet and have less distinct features. It has no known associated meteorites. It has been postulated that Vesta accreted dry and Ceres wet and that the water kept Ceres cool enough to avoid differentiation. Thus these two asteroidal neighbors represent two quite different end members of solar system evolution.

The top level science objectives, the measurement suite, and the science team were approved during the Step 1 selection process. Over the next several months the Dawn team will demonstrate to NASA that we can safely achieve those objectives within the constraints of the Discovery program. It is the intent of the Dawn science team to engage the scientific community throughout the mission, with community forums on our plans as we build the spacecraft and instruments, and with participating scientist programs and data analysis programs when we are obtaining data. The first community forum will be held in Houston, TX on Sunday, March 11, 2001 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Admiral Room A at the Hilton Nassau Bay Hotel across from the Johnson Space Center. The purpose of this meeting is both to inform the community of our plans and to initiate meaningful interactions as we execute the various mission phases. If you wish to make a formal presentation, please contact amcglynn@igpp.ucla.edu by March 1, 2001.

For more information contact C. T. Russell, ctrussell@igpp.ucla.edu or visit the Dawn website http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/dawn.

Last updated February 23, 2001.