Home > My Fiction, Science > Dawn probe reaches Vesta orbit!

Dawn probe reaches Vesta orbit!

Yesterday, July 16, 2011, NASA’s Dawn space probe entered orbit around the asteroid (or more properly, protoplanet) Vesta, the second-most massive object in the Main Asteroid Belt.  This is a mission I’ve following with interest, and I made a previous post about it back in April.  But now I can reveal why I’m particularly interested in this mission — because my upcoming novel Only Superhuman is set in the Asteroid Belt, and much of its action takes place on habitats around Vesta (or around Ceres, which Dawn will visit in 2015).  The novel mentions little enough about Vesta itself that I hope I won’t have to do any rewrites as a result of Dawn‘s findings, but I’m going to keep my eye on this just in case, and who knows — maybe I’ll get to write more about Vesta in a sequel.

Here’s the NASA press release:

http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/feature_stories/spacecraft_enters_orbit.asp

And here’s the clearest photo of Vesta to date, taken on July 9:

 Dawn photograph of Vesta

So… we now have direct experience of Vesta.  I guess that means we aren’t Vestal virgins anymore! 😀

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