The trip took eight years on Friday morning California time, the spacecraft has finally reached its destination. NASA announced┬áthat it received a signal of “Dawn”, the probe had arrived in orbit of the dwarf planet.Nearly five million kilometers has traveled the probe over the past eight years. “Dawn” is only 1.60 meters long and 747 kg heavy. The cost of “Dawn” are now specified by the Nasa with a total of about 420 million euros.

Historical Research in Space

“The spacecraft is in excellent condition, and the approach has been run flawlessly,” had Nasa Manager Robert Mase said before the arrival of the probe in orbit of Ceres. The dwarf planet is in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The probe should stay several months in orbit and explore the planet.

Planetoids are smaller celestial bodies from the early days of the solar system, orbiting the sun. Some are several hundred meters, other hundreds of kilometers in size.

In the asteroid, scientists from NASA, to discover “some of the great mysteries” about the origins of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago suspect. That’s why they called the probe “dawn”. The asteroids contain virtually the “rubble” of our solar system.

“The exploration of Ceres is like a kind of historical research in space,” says NASA manager Jim Green. “Data sent Dawn to Earth could contribute significantly to understanding how the solar system was formed.”

On the way, the probe already explored Vesta

The mission has a lot behind. After the trip due to high costs and technical problems had already been canceled, the probe but could start in September 2007, still from the spaceport Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The more than 200 years ago discovered asteroid that has a diameter of only 500 kilometers, is the brightest in our solar system. More than a year circumnavigated and explored “Dawn” Vesta and then delivered to the delight of scientists many photos and measurement data.

In September 2011, the spacecraft then made his way to Ceres. The dwarf planet discovered in 1801 has a diameter of about 950 km and is considered true lumps of ice – ice shell to be alone its 100 kilometers thick. Among the researchers suspect water.

Ceres is black as coal – with mysterious stains

The first results already brought the approach. “Dawn” sparked the so far most detailed images of Ceres. In particular, they craters and bright spots. ┬áCeres is black as coal, its bright spots are still as dark as an asphalt surface.┬áNevertheless, scientists now very interested in these areas.

“Quite honestly, Ceres is much more exciting than I thought.” Also, the entire NASA team was impressed by the unique in the solar system patches, says NASA scientist Carol Raymond. “We’ll find out what it is exactly that is. The puzzle will be solved.”