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Dawn's last mission extensions at Ceres, From XMO3 to EOM
post Jun 21 2017, 01:28 AM
Post #31

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Another asteroid flyby would be cool, but I'd like to stay at Ceres to monitor it though perihelion to see if any changes/outgassing can be detected.

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post Jun 21 2017, 04:22 AM
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Perihelion is next April, and it does seem as if most water vapor detections by remote sensors have happened around then.

I concur with Ted.

A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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post Jun 21 2017, 06:40 AM
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I agree, stay at Ceres, but in a long term parking orbit that would allow for long term observations, with possible dips to a close orbit for flybys of anything interesting. I doubt we'll see significant changes, but maybe we'll get lucky. Occator crater is such an enigma, with the youth of the central mound. It is fascinating that two icy bodies (Ceres and Enceladus) that span an order of magnitude of sizes have localized activity.

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post Jun 22 2017, 01:35 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jun 20 2017, 12:45 PM) *
Europa? No way it'll survive that far from the Sun and that sort of radiation dose...

True, only 28% as much solar energy at Jupiter (if I did the math right). Not sure if this is more a problem for propulsion or simply keeping the electronics running. And I have no expertise in judging the radiation problem, though (having been a software developer once upon a time), I do wonder whether radiation tolerant software could be developed -- perhaps using the RAM in a multiply redundant fashion -- but that's a broader problem.

Anyway, my vote would be to go elsewhere if possible, with the argument being that flyby observations of another -- never explored -- asteroid would be more valuable than spending a bit more time at Ceres.
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post Yesterday, 06:29 AM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Jun 21 2017, 04:22 AM) *
Perihelion is next April, and it does seem as if most water vapor detections by remote sensors have happened around then.

"Ceres' Temporary Atmosphere Linked to Solar Activity ... Villarreal and colleagues showed that past detections of the transient atmosphere coincided with higher concentrations of energetic protons from the sun. Non-detections coincided with lower concentrations of these particles. What's more, the best detections of Ceres' atmosphere did not occur at its closest approach to the sun. This suggests that solar activity, rather than Ceres' proximity to the sun, is a more important factor in generating an exosphere."
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