Dawn delves into the unknown and achieves what's never been attempted before. A mission in NASA's Discovery Program, Dawn orbited and explored the giant protoplanet Vesta in 2011-2012, and now it is in orbit and exploring a second new world, dwarf planet Ceres.

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What's Happening Now?


The Dawn mission has achieved several important firsts in space exploration. It is the only spacecraft ever to orbit two destinations beyond Earth and the only to orbit an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The giant protoplanet Vesta was confirmed to be a fascinating world more closely related to the terrestrial planets (including Earth) than to typical asteroids. Dwarf planet Ceres, larger yet less dense, is believed to have a large amount of ice and may even have subsurface liquid water. Ceres was the first dwarf planet discovered and Dawn is now studying it in detail.