Thursday, March 24, 2011
An interesting video from about ten days ago:
Though Dawn is fairly close to Vesta now at just 2.9 million km away, it's still anyone's guess as to exactly what the surface looks like, and in preparation for arrival scientists have constructed two educated guesses into the appearance of the protoplanet's surface. You'll notice at 1:09 the chief engineer Marc Rayman who has been writing all the interesting journal entries, at the end of each month.
Arrival still isn't until July, but I believe I read that Dawn will begin photographing Vesta for navigational purposes somewhere around May so maybe a bit of eye candy around then. Having Vesta right in the probe's field of view will block out a lot of stars in the star tracker and so they've been simulating that a bit here and there too, as a dress rehearsal before the real thing.