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February 9-15, 2015 / Vol 34, No 6 / Hawai`i Island, USA

6 Feb 2015, 21:26 UTC
February 9-15, 2015 / Vol 34, No 6 / Hawai`i Island, USA
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Rosetta Skimming by Comet Surface, New Horizons Imaging Pluto System, Dawn Approaching Ceres
The ESA Rosetta spacecraft orbiting the Jupiter-family Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is planning to come within 6 km of its surface on February 14 in order to take high resolution images and collect data on the comet surface, coma and tail, with 12 science instruments. The Philae lander may become responsive again in late March, but more likely May or June, when enough solar illumination may be available to power its instruments. Rosetta orbiter will observe and track the comet through perihelion (August 13), with an end of mission planned for December 31. The NASA New Horizons spacecraft is beginning observations of the Pluto system from about 1.6B km away. It is set to fly by Pluto at 12,391 km and its largest moon Charon at 28,968 km, on July 14, making history as the first craft dedicated to explore Pluto and head into the Kuiper Belt. On March 6 NASA Dawn is scheduled to arrive at protoplanet Ceres (975 x 909 km) after orbiting and studying Vesta (578 x 560 x 458 km) from 2011-2012. It is set to become the first craft to orbit 2 different unexplored ...

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