Fr.: sonde spatiale Dawn
NASA's mission to explore the two largest objects in the → asteroid belt, the asteroid Vesta and the → dawarf planet Ceres, gathering data relating to their composition, internal structure, density and shape. Launched in September 2007, Dawn entered the orbit of → Vesta in July 2011 and spent 16 months there before leaving for → Ceres. It entered Ceres orbit on March 6, 2015. The Dawn spacecraft is made of aluminium and graphite composite, it has a dry mass of 747.1 kg and a mass of 1217.7 kg when fully fuelled prior to launch. The spacecraft is a box-shaped design measuring 1.64m × 1.27m × 1.77m. Dawn ran out of fuel on Nov. 1, 2018, but the spacecraft will continue to orbit Ceres for several decades.
→ dawn; → spacecraft.