After seven years of travel through space probe Dawn reached its destination: protoplanet Ceres. This is the NASA mission to identify the origins of the Solar System.
The probe will remain in orbit Ceres at least 16 months, as scheduled mission, but not coming back to Earth, because it has enough fuel. This will provide valuable information for understanding the origins of the Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago.
“Study of Ceres allows us to study truly space history and the data collected by Dawn probe could lead to important discoveries regarding the formation of the solar system,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science, in the press conference dedicated to the event. Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt in our Solar System, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
How long will it stay in orbit, Dawn probe will map and the asteroid belt. Moreover, Dawn will map Ceres using infrared spectrometer and generate 3D maps to make it easier for researchers to study geology. The probe will collect information on the composition of the atmosphere that Ceres has, according to The Guardian.
Ceres is considered a time capsule and consists of the same parties that helped the formation of larger planets. Finding answers could tell a lot about our history. Two major questions that research could address are whether there is an ocean of liquid water beneath the surface and causing surface bright spots that appear on the surface. The mission began in 2007, costs 473 million dollars, and will end after at least 100 years.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on Nasa and their inventions as the technology is expanding rapidly and, as most of us know, the Earth will soon become overpopulated hence the reason why we may need to move on a new planet. And since neither Mars and Moon are currently ideal for human living, we might just need a protoplanet like the one described in Nasa’s Dawn mission.
Although the mission started only a few years ago it is already showing positive signals, and all researchers are carefully taking into account the implications of it. Results of this mission could reveal us the answer to many questions and could help humans in their future attempt to move onto a new planet.