NASA’s ion-driven spacecraft Dawn is on schedule to begin its orbit around Vesta July 16. Vesta is an asteroid in the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt is between Mars and Jupiter.
Dawn is scheduled for a year orbit before it moves on to orbit Ceres. Ceres may be classified as a dwarf planet.
Based on their age NASA is hoping that these two distant objects will shed some light on the origins of the solar system. Another question which some have entertained—is there any type of life on these two objects in the asteroid belt?
In Roman mythology Vesta was a virgin goddess of the family and home. Ceres was the goddess of agriculture.
This is an exciting time for those of us interested in space exploration. Who knows what information Dawn will send back about these two objects which are a mirror to our ancient past.
Perhaps, the key to the origins of the solar system can be found on these two members of our solar system. Space is a vast mystery which beckons for humans to explore since we are star stuff. The human legacy is wrapped in what lies out there beyond our senses and limited comprehension.
For in essence we are the star child of the cosmos. For it is in the cosmos that we will stand on the shores of eternity to take in an empyreal view of our past and our future.
G. D. Williams © 2011
The Christian Science Monitor
The Early Solar System: Dawn At Vesta