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Dawn departs Vesta
Posted: Thu, Sep 6, 2012, 7:30 AM ET (1130 GMT)
Dawn orbiting Vesta illustration (NASA/JPL) NASA's Dawn spacecraft has left orbit around the large asteroid Vesta and is now heading to the dwarf planet Ceres, the space agency announced Wednesday. Dawn officially escaped the gravity of Vesta at 2:26 am EDT (0626 GMT) Wednesday after spending the last several weeks slowly spiraling out from the asteroid using its ion engine. the spacecraft had spent a little more than one year in orbit around Vesta, closing studying the giant asteroid. Dawn is now en route to the largest object in the main asteroid belt, Ceres, and is scheduled to arrive in early 2015.
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