Spacecraft poetic name "Dawn" began his one-year travel around the second largest asteroid, named in honor of the Roman goddess of hearth fires and Vesta.
Around the same time next year, set out toward the biggest, which is also called a dwarf planet - Ceres, who was called so in honor of the Roman goddess of agriculture.
Officials of the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) disclosed that it is the first and largest human spacecraft that will orbit two celestial bodies in a mysterious asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter, dotted with an abundance of larger and smaller "cosmic rock", since the residual sun's family of shaping time.
After cross 188 million miles in, almost four years (send out in September 2007), "Dawn" will, circling at an altitude of 16 thousand kilometers, the entire surface of Vesta record year. For this task, among others, particularly equipped with two devices - one that records (detected) gamma rays and neutrons, the second infrared light, which captures the distant landscape. Why?
So to astronomers who study the earliest time of the solar system, from which the remaining vast "cosmic rock", has afforded previously unknown information.
It will have, in fact, the impression that they take a look into the kind of "time capsule" or, if you are closer, as if studying the archaeological remains of ancient cosmic time.
Already it is known that Vesta once had nearly circular shape, and to the south pole is chub huge, powerful collision occurred in the past. What is certainly the most interesting: almost five percent of meteorites found on Earth comes from the attack that occurred in the News.
Is no less important or intentions of U.S. President Barack Obama to 2025. send the first astronauts to an asteroid.
Vesta was from its inception has experienced numerous bombings, preserving the scars, which, as is assumed, astronomers discover what is endured to this day. After all, aircraft and equipment that is fitted for the time being in excellent condition.
When the sun took shape, about 4.5 billion years old, surrounded by a huge ring of gas and dust, from which, in the next few million years, compression and merging (accretion), hatched eight existing planets (and our Earth, of course) . However, from this turbulent and brutal period of rest is too "cosmic debris", mostly between Mars and Jupiter, captured Tug of the two planets.
Larger debris more scientific curiosity tickled, hence they decided to closely observe the West (approximately 520 kilometers in diameter). Why? Because most reminiscent of the eight (nine until recently) the Sun's companion. He imagines that she, like Earth, composed of several layers, with a core of nickel and iron, wrapped rocky mantle.
What is it based? In so far established the density of the heavenly bodies and on the basis of hundreds of pieces of stone that struck the planet.
After one revolve, aircraft "Dawn" will restart its ion engines and drive towards Ceres, almost twice stocky (about 960 kilometers at the waist and 6 thousand times easier, and less mass than the Earth), which is the largest member of the asteroid belt . He will arrive in February of 2015th year. And Ceres is a circle, and probably cut out several layers of which the topmost layer of Vestinog wetter, which indicates the existence of equality and the atmosphere very small.
The main catch, however, is the fact that - for reasons unexplained - magically intact, while avoiding most of the collision.
While reading these lines, sends the aircraft largely unknown and unusual sights in the world of fact, until recently inaccessible. The original recordings, according to experts, overcome the boldest expectations.
The venture is an international, because it involved more, and Germany and Italy.
Asteroids (Greek: starlike) or planetoids are small solid bodies in planetary systems. Compared with the planets and dwarf planets are smaller and often irregular in shape. Emerged from the remains protoplanetarne matter that has not merged with planets or comets or later, change some other body. Frequently orbit around a star like our own path or companions of major planets. Although until recently it was thought otherwise, it was discovered that asteroids can have their own satellites.
Most of the solar system is located in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter, in the Kuiper Belt. So far it has discovered more than 170,000, and over 11,000 were given proper names, in addition to catalog number. It is estimated that by the Sun's family could be several million.
There are still no exact definition of the asteroid, experts differ on the classification (according to weight, size, composition and position). It was suggested that the asteroids are called the body more than 50 meters in diameter, smaller than planets and the stone or metal composition. Even smaller, which break down and fill burn when entering the Earth's atmosphere, it would meteoridi; asteroids would be called one that can reach Earth's surface.
The main three groups: carbonate - 75 percent of known, silicate -
17 and the metal - most of the rest.