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15 July 2011
Today NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history by being the first probe to orbit the protoplanet Vesta! The image below is from July 9, and already Dawn has upgraded Vesta from a fuzzy disk in Hubble images to a world with visible surface features, including some strange striations. Once Dawn is in orbit, we should be getting even better views. Stay tuned!
17 November 2010
Earlier this week, the Japanese space agency (JAXA) announced that the sample container from the Hayabusa probe that returned to earth in June did indeed contain dust grains from the asteroid Itokawa. This makes Hayabusa the first sample return from the surface of an object beyond the moon, and is a great success for JAXA after a mission plagued with problems.