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Liftoff for Ceres and Vesta (July 2007)

  1. Jun 15, 2007 #1


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    Ceres is about 1000 km diameter and appears covered with a thick layer of ice, estimated on order of 100 km deep

    which means I suppose that in a pinch (with an artificial source of energy) you could live there by tunneling under the ice

    the "Dawn" probe will use ION PROPULSION to maneuver.

    it will launch in July and go to Vesta

    and go into orbit around Vesta

    after studying Vesta it will use ion drive to get out of orbit around Vesta and move on to Ceres.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2007 #2
    Ooohhh... An Ion Engine.... So, are there any stats out there on the engine? Such as, what fuel it uses, specific impulse and such?

    And yes, I'm back after not posting for a long, long, long, long time... :biggrin:
  4. Jun 25, 2007 #3


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  5. Jun 26, 2007 #4
    Am I blind, or does that article not say when the probe is due to reach Vesta? It says it will arrive at Ceres in February, 2015, but nothing about when it arrives on Vesta.

    Interesting stuff anyway, I hope the "asteroid hop" goes off without a hitch.
  6. Jun 26, 2007 #5
    You are blind! It said it would reach Vesta in October 2011.
  7. Jun 26, 2007 #6


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    By now I assume you have the stats you want.
    Since you are a mad scientist you may want to consider the idea that
    Ceres is the only large readily available supply of propellant (water, hydrogen) in the inner solar system----that is, this side of Jupiter---and therefore

    Whoever controls Ceres controls the inner solar system. Nyahah-hah-hah-haaaaaah!!!

    lift-off from Ceres is relatively easy since low Ceres orbit velocity is comparable to the speed of sound on earth---a few hundred mph.
  8. Jun 26, 2007 #7


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    This is such a neat mission. I wish I could find more info on the trajectory. I want to simulate this in Gravity Simulator, but I need to know stuff like duration and direction of the thrust.

    Ceres and Vesta are in very similar orbits. If they had a little more mass they would probably be in 1:1 resonant horseshoe orbits like Saturn's Janus and Epimetheus. That's why its easy to jump from one to the other with very limited thrust.

    I think it would be neat to do another mission to the asteroid belt as well, using more traditional forms of thrust. Orbiting the Sun in the heart of the asteroid belt, a craft could potentially visit hundreds of asteroids on flyby trajectories, accumulating data about their mass by the bend in the trajectory. This would help us really understand the asteroid belt.
  9. Jun 29, 2007 #8
    Have they announced a specific date in July yet?
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