Asteroid belt is a torus-shaped region in the Solar System, located roughly between the orbits of the planets Jupiter and Mars. It contains many solid, irregularly shaped bodies, of many sizes, but much smaller than planets, called asteroids or minor planets. It is also called the main asteroid belt to distinguish it from other asteroid populations in the Solar System such as near-Earth asteroids and trojan asteroids. About half its mass is contained in the four largest asteroids: Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea. The total mass of the asteroid belt is about 4% that of the Moon. Ceres, the only object in the asteroid belt large enough to be a dwarf planet, is about 950 km in diameter, whereas Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea have mean diameters less than 600 km. The remaining bodies range down to the size of a dust particle. — Wikipedia
Dawn was a space probe that was launched by NASA in September 2007 with the mission of studying two of the three known protoplanets of the asteroid belt: Vesta and Ceres. Dawn entered orbit around Vesta on July 16, 2011, and completed a 14-month survey mission before leaving for Ceres in late 2012. It entered orbit around Ceres on March 6, 2015. In 2017, NASA announced that the planned nine-year mission would be extended until the probe’s hydrazine fuel supply was depleted. On November 1, 2018, NASA announced that Dawn had depleted its hydrazine, and the mission was ended. The spacecraft is currently in a derelict, but stable, orbit around Ceres. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies, the first spacecraft to visit Vesta and Ceres, and the first to orbit a dwarf planet. — Wikipedia
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- Vera Rubin telescope will generate a...on December 1, 2023 at 3:56 pm
When the Vera C. Rubin Observatory comes online in 2025, it will be one of the most powerful tools available to astronomers, capturing huge portions of the sky every night with its 8.4-meter mirror and 3.2-gigapixel camera. Each image will be analyzed within 60 seconds, alerting astronomers to transient events like supernovae. An incredible 5 petabytes (5,000 terabytes) of new raw images will be recorded each year and made available for astronomers to study.
- Satellite discovered by NASA's Lucy mission gets...on November 30, 2023 at 5:28 pm
The satellite discovered during the first asteroid encounter of NASA's Lucy mission has an official name. On Nov. 27, 2023, the International Astronomical Union approved the name "Selam" or ሰላም, which means "peace" in the Ethiopian language Amharic, for Dinkinesh's moon.
- NASA's Deep Space Optical Comm demo sends,...on November 17, 2023 at 5:32 pm
DSOC, an experiment that could transform how spacecraft communicate, has achieved "first light," sending data via laser to and from far beyond the moon for the first time.
- 'Bouncing' comets could deliver building blocks...on November 15, 2023 at 12:00 am
How did the molecular building blocks for life end up on Earth? One long-standing theory is that they could have been delivered by comets. Now, researchers from the University of Cambridge have shown how comets could deposit similar building blocks to other planets in the galaxy.
- Testing of citizen scientist discovery suggests...on November 14, 2023 at 8:20 pm
A team of space scientists, astronomers and astrophysicists affiliated with multiple institutions across the U.S., working with a colleague from Italy, has determined that a celestial object spotted by citizen scientists back in 2016 is neither a comet nor an asteroid, but an object that lies on the boundary between both. In their paper published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the group describes the multiple tests they did to determine the nature of the object and what they […]
- NASA spacecraft discovers tiny moon around...on November 5, 2023 at 7:10 pm
The little asteroid visited by NASA's Lucy spacecraft this week had a big surprise for scientists.
- NASA's Lucy spacecraft discovers 2nd asteroid...on November 2, 2023 at 8:47 pm
On Nov. 1, NASA's Lucy spacecraft flew by not just its first asteroid, but its first two. The first images returned by Lucy reveal that the small main belt asteroid Dinkinesh is actually a binary pair.
- NASA's Lucy spacecraft swoops past first of 10...on November 1, 2023 at 8:58 pm
NASA's Lucy spacecraft on Wednesday encountered the first of 10 asteroids on its long journey to Jupiter.
- OSIRIS-REx flies on as OSIRIS-APEX to explore its...on November 1, 2023 at 7:00 pm
After seven years in space and over 4 billion miles traveled, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission successfully collected and delivered the first U.S. sample from a near-Earth asteroid. Yet, after all this time and travel, the spacecraft will not retire.
- Vera Rubin Observatory could find up to 70...on November 1, 2023 at 4:13 pm
Astronomers have discovered two known interstellar objects (ISO), 'Oumuamua and 21/Borisov. But there could be thousands of these objects passing through the solar system at any time. According to a new paper, the upcoming Vera Rubin Telescope will be a fantastic interstellar object hunter, and could possibly find up to 70 objects a year coming from other star systems.
Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.
Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid