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Dawn approaches Ceres
Posted: Tue, Mar 3, 2015, 7:27 AM ET (1227 GMT)
Dawn spacecraft illustration (UCLA/W. Hartman) NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on track to enter orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres at the end of this week, project officials said Monday. Dawn will go into orbit around Ceres on Friday after using its ion thrusters to travel there from the lare asteroid Vesta. Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt and designated a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union in 2006, appears to have signs of recent geological activity on its surface, scientists said, based on ever-improving images returned by Dawn. Of particular interest are bright spots recently detected on Ceres' surface, which may be patches of ice recently exposed by plumes or other geological activity.
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