Nasa's pioneering Dawn spacecraft - which orbited the two largest objects in the asteroid belt - has run out of fuel, ending a historic 11-year mission that unravelled many mysteries of our solar system, the U.S. space agency said. Scientists found about a month ago that Dawn was running out of hydrazine, the fuel that kept the spacecraft's antennas facing Earth and helped turn its solar panels toward the Sun to recharge its battery cells.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has run out of fuel and dropped out of contact with mission control, the agency said Thursday.
Launched 27 September 2007, the Dawn machine was created to study the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. NASA said that the spacecraft will continue to be in orbit around Ceres for at least 50 years.
The unmanned rocket has voyage 4.3 billion miles (6.9 billion kilometers) since launched in 2007. Currently, it is in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, where it will remain for decades, Nasa said.More news: OnePlus 6T may soon come in a color that isn't black
The Kepler space telescope ran out of fuel earlier this week, as expected, ending its nine and a half year mission of hunting for planets outside our solar system. "The demands we made on Dawn were tremendous, but she always faced the challenge". Before joining Sun Star Times Andy has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN and the Huffington Post.
The spacecraft itself may indeed be dead, but Dawn's contribution to science is far from over. It's not just large asteroids: these so-called proto-planet represent that era in the history of the Solar system, formed when her worlds.
Dawn also reinforced the idea that dwarf planets could have hosted oceans over a significant part of their history - and potentially still do.More news: Mac Miller's Cause of Death Was Fentanyl and Cocaine | TMZ
"In many ways, Dawn's legacy is just beginning", said Principal Investigator Carol Raymond at JPL. In addition to returning a carbon-rich asteroid sample and studying Bennu's surface and composition, NASA's OSIRIS-REx will also look into how sunlight affects its orbit and document its regolith, the layer of material covering its surface.
The Dawn mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with spacecraft components contributed by European partners from Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
Among the most astounding images were Dawn's views of Ceres' mysterious white spots, which reflected sunlight so brightly they were dubbed "alien headlights".More news: Amazon drops free-shipping minimum for all customers