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News Release Archive:

News Release 312 of 954

June 20, 2007 10:30 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2007-27

Hubble Images of Asteroids Help Astronomers Prepare for Spacecraft Visit

June 20, 2007: These Hubble Space Telescope images of Vesta and Ceres show two of the most massive asteroids in the asteroid belt, a region between Mars and Jupiter. The images are helping astronomers plan for the Dawn spacecraft’s READ: Junior version of this article Amazing Space Learn about this story in the Star Witness, a science newspaper available on our sister site, Amazing Space.  tour of these hefty asteroids. On July 7, NASA is scheduled to launch the spacecraft on a four-year journey to the asteroid belt. Once there, Dawn will do some asteroid-hopping, going into orbit around Vesta in 2011 and Ceres in 2015. Dawn will be the first spacecraft to orbit two targets. At least 100,000 asteroids inhabit the asteroid belt, a reservoir of leftover material from the formation of our solar-system planets 4.6 billion years ago.

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Credits for Vesta: NASA, ESA, and L. McFadden (University of Maryland)

Credits for Ceres: : NASA, ESA, and J. Parker (Southwest Research Institute)