Menu: Skip within this page


Mission Websites

Here we list links to the primary mission website as well as pages about the mission on other sites such as the NSSDC, NASA portal, etc.


The Dawn spacecraft launched 27 September 2007. After completing an initial check-out phase in December 2007, Dawn began its interplanetary cruise phase which included a gravity assist from Mars in February 2009 that put the spacecraft on a trajectory to rendezvous with the asteroid 4 Vesta in July 2011. After observing Vesta for a year, the spacecraft will depart in July 2012 and spend over 2.5 years travelling to the dwarf planet Ceres (or 1 Ceres, the asteroid). Dawn will rendezvous with Ceres in February 2015 and will spend 6 months taking measurements before departing in July 2015 (end of mission).

Dawn's primary science goal is to gain an understanding of the conditions and processes occurring when the solar system was only about 10 million years old. It will measure the size, shape, mass, volume and spin rate of the two protoplanets, Vesta and Ceres, to determine their internal structure, density and homogeneity. Dawn will also investigate their thermal history by measuring the elemental and mineral abundances. It will image their surfaces to determine their bombardment and tectonic history, and use gravity, spin and magnetic data to limit the size of any metallic core.


Data Sets

Small Bodies Image Browser (SBIB)

This tool enables people to select Dawn Vesta images by looking at a map of Vesta and selecting the area in which they are interested. They can also search the data by various parameters, and download data in a selection of formats. Eric Palmer made this tool originally for the Dawn Science Team and now has adapted it for SBN.


Mars Flyby



2016.09.14 -- The Small Bodies Node and the Dawn project are working together to try to get Dawn Ceres data submitted, reviewed, and released in PDS by Oct. 18 so they can be eligible for DDAP proposals. Here is our estimate of the prospects:
      - Framing Camera Ceres LAMO L1a, L1b, and mosaics - likely.
      - VIR Ceres LAMO L1a and L1b - not possible.
      - GRaND Ceres LAMO L1a and L1b - likely.
      - Vesta and Ceres digital terrain models - likely.

Other Mission Data

Related Datasets

Use the Small Bodies Data Ferret to find other datasets for this mission/target.