Tag Archives: spacecraft

Space: the final frontier: Spacecraft Will Be First to Visit Dwarf Planet

Spacecraft Will Be First to Visit Dwarf Planet

NASA’s unmanned Dawn spacecraft will soon be visiting a planet that you’ve probably never heard of: Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. When it arrives March 6, Dawn will become the first spacecraft to visit one of the five dwarf planets, whose ranks include the former planet Pluto. Ceres was likely becoming a full-sized planet before Jupiter stunted its growth 4.6 billion years ago. It is now the largest object between Mars and Jupiter, and the largest object between the Sun and Pluto that has not yet received a visit from Earth. More… Discuss

this day in history: Pioneer 10 – First Craft to Leave Solar System, Perhaps (1983)

Pioneer 10: First Craft to Leave Solar System, Perhaps (1983)

Launched in 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and to make up-close observations of Jupiter, capturing images that were later sent back to Earth. It passed the orbit of Neptune in 1983 and became by some definitions the first artificial object to leave our solar system. By February 1998, the probe was over 7.5 billion miles from Earth but lost its title as the most distant man-made object to what craft? More… Discuss