Okay, so this is the worst pun ever, but the good news is that as of yesterday NASAs Dawn Mission is on it’s way. Dawn is a mission to the asteroid belt and more specifically to Vesta and Ceres, two really, really huge rocks in space ( 500 km / 1000 km across) that feature in many science fiction novels as the most likely place for human habitats in the asteroid belt. Oh, and I guess they are of some scientific interest, too. Dawn had been effectivly canceled, was reinstated, then delayed – NASA has a problem with its science budget (I don’t follow american fiscal politics that closely but it would seem that the overall budget woes are due to governmental pressure while the unwise distribution of the remaining funds is a self inflicted problem, but what do I know) – so it’s some relief that things finally got going.
So on the following pages you will find the really interesting stuff about the dawn mission:
- The offical mission pages at nasa.gov
- An article about the dawn mission by Astronomer Amara Graps
- Emily Lakdawalla and Guest bloggers covered the launch in Emilys blog at the planetary society
- Philipp Plait mentions the launch at his badastronomy.com website, and if your at all interested in astronomy and space exploration you should check out the rest of his site
- The same goes for Fraser Cains’ Universe Today Website. This is not safe for work, not because there’s anything naughty on the site but because you can spent hours or days exploring the stuff there, and your boss probably won’t like that
My heart really belongs to manned space exploration, but I have to admit that at the moment unmanned probes provide better bang for the buck. And I’m really looking forward to learn more about the asteroid belt and Ceres and Vesta.