A NASA space probe to visit the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, launched in 2007 September. Dawn used ion propulsion to travel to Vesta, arriving there in 2011 July and going into orbit around it for a year. Dawn carries two German-made cameras to photograph the asteroid's surface, as well as two spectrometers to study the mineral composition and a magnetometer to search for a magnetic field. In 2012 July Dawn will depart for Ceres, reaching there in 2015 February to repeat its studies.
http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/ Official mission website.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.