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NASA Space Science

NASA Probe Orbiting Asteroid Vesta 132

astroengine writes "Mission managers of NASA's Dawn asteroid probe had a long Saturday, waiting for news from the asteroid belt. Eventually they got the news they were hoping for: Dawn had entered Vesta orbit. This is the first time in history that an object in the asteroid belt has been orbited by an artificial satellite. It's taken four years for the ion thruster-propelled spacecraft to reach the asteroid and there was some uncertainty as to whether the probe had been captured by the asteroid's gravity at all. But after a long period of waiting, mission managers received the signal after Dawn was able to orientate its antenna toward Earth."
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NASA Probe Orbiting Asteroid Vesta

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 17, 2011 @01:47PM (#36793728)

    Wow, what loathsome editing by Discovery: they injected a video clip about a "Doomsday Asteroid" wiping out the earth into the middle of an article about Dawn visiting Vesta. The two are unrelated, but the juxtaposition somehow makes it sound like NASA is fulfilling some Hollywood fantasy about visiting the asteroid that will come smashing into Earth unless we send [current B-rate movie star] on the now-defunct Space Shuttle to nuke it.

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @02:02PM (#36793834)
    Also not quite as bad as that curious predilection those in the UK have of ending a written sentence with a preposition.
  • by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @02:38PM (#36794048)

    I think I just had a small stroke while typing that.

    Masturbation does seem to be a common part of this thread.

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Sunday July 17, 2011 @03:26PM (#36794300) Homepage Journal

    Actually, I just watched the video, and it's related to the story. The "doomsday asteroid" video is mostly an interview with NASA Senior Scientist Joseph A. Nuth III. When Discovery questions him about strategies for the 1/45,000 chance of an asteroid hitting the earth in calendar year 2029. When asked about real strategies for dealing with an impending asteroid impact, Nuth explains that a lack of data or record of observation of the asteroid belt makes strategies rather futile. Whether to paint it to use solar reflection power, or blowing it up, etc., requires closer observation of the asteroid belt... which is background justification for Vesta's trip to the asteroid belt.

    As for "juxtaposition", the story appears in July, the seventh month of the year. According to dictionary.com, the seventh month of the "civil year" is also called the "Nisan" or "Nissan" (from the Asyrian calendar) So this article is about the Nissan Vesta.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev