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Dawn’s gravity data probes interior of dwarf planet Ceres

5 August 2016 Astronomy Now

By tracking subtle changes in the motion of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, scientists have mapped the variations in Ceres’ gravity for the first time, providing clues to the dwarf planet’s internal structure. The new data suggest that Ceres has a weak interior, and that water and other light materials partially separated from rock during a heating phase early in its history.

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Kepler spacecraft remains stable as health check continues

16 April 2016 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Kepler planet-hunter spacecraft remains stable as the process of returning it to science continues. The cause of the anomaly, first reported on 8 April, remains under investigation. Charlie Sobeck‚Äč, Kepler and K2 mission manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center, explains the steps taken by mission operations engineers to resume the K2 mission.

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New Horizons’ manoeuvres put it on course for post-Pluto rendezvous

8 November 2015 Astronomy Now

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, speeding toward deeper space at more than 32,000 miles per hour, has successfully performed a series of targeting manoeuvres that set it on course for a January 2019 encounter with Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. This ancient body is more than a billion miles beyond Pluto. The propulsive manoeuvres were the most distant trajectory corrections ever performed by any spacecraft.

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Peanut-shaped near-Earth asteroid 1999 JD6 imaged by radar

3 August 2015 Astronomy Now

NASA scientists have used two giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off a passing asteroid and produce images of the peanut-shaped body as it approached close to Earth on 25 July. The asteroid appears to be a contact binary — an asteroid with two lobes that are stuck together.