This Day in History: 3/6/2020

On this day in 2015, NASA’s Dawn probe entered orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. Ceres is one of only five dwarf planets in the solar system, and the only dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. Upon entering orbit, Dawn became the first spacecraft to enter orbit around an object in the asteroid belt. NASA lost contact with Dawn on October 31st, 2018, but the little probe continues to orbit Ceres to this day.

Among other achievements Dawn was the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial objects in one mission, was the first to visit a dwarf planet, and revealed to scientists that Ceres is both geologically active and hosts the building blocks of life. Dawn is also unique because it is technically a TIE Fighter. The TIE acronym stands for “twin ion engines”, and Dawn incorporated is one of the few spacecraft to have used two ion engines. Luckily for Earth, Dawn’s intentions were more peaceful and scientific than those of a Sith fighter.


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