July 12, 2011
In this artist’s conception, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is shown with its two targets nearby, asteroid Vesta, left, and dwarf planet Ceres, right. Dawn will visit Vesta this month before heading for a 2015 rendezvous with Ceres.
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The discovery of the minor planet Ceres by astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801 set off a series of discoveries of many other mini-worlds circling the sun in the huge gulf of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.