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Dawn flies close to Ceres as mission approaches end
Posted: Sun, Jul 8, 2018, 9:40 AM ET (1340 GMT)
Dawn spacecraft illustration (UCLA/W. Hartman) NASA's Dawn spacecraft, nearing the end of its mission, has dipped very close to the surface of Ceres. The spacecraft used its ion engine for the final time to move into an orbit that brings it as close as 35 kilometers from the surface of Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt. That orbit allows the spacecraft to provide the sharpest images yet of the surface, including a crater called Occator that has a bright feature in its center believed to be salt deposits. The spacecraft is running low on maneuvering fuel and its mission will end when that fuel is exhausted, likely in the next several months.
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