Monday, August 01, 2011

NASA To Unveil Images Of Asteroid Vesta

A spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral is beaming back unmatched images of the asteroid Vesta, the second most massive object in a belt littered with space rocks between Mars and Jupiter.

NASA at noon today will unveil images captured by the agency's Dawn spacecraft, which blasted off in September 2007 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 17B.

The Dawn spacecraft last month became the first to enter orbit around an object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Propelled by high-tech ion engines, the spacecraft travelled 1.7 billion miles during its four year trip to Vesta. The Dawn spacecraft will spend a year in orbit around Vesta before heading off for an encounter with a second target -- the asteroid Ceres -- in 2015.

You can watch a live NASA TV broadcast of a NASA-Vesta news conference here in The Flame Trench at noon. Officials will unveil the first full-frame views of Vesta. Click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage of the briefing.

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