NASA Waits for Dawn to Arrive at Dwarf Planet

The dwarf planet of Ceres has had a rough history since it was first spotted in our solar system in 1801, with scientists demoting the planet to an asteroid and later upgrading it to a dwarf planet in 2006, CNN reports. The mysteries of Ceres were only added to when the European Space Agency claimed its infrared telescopes had detected water vapor coming from areas now revealed to have large white areas glowing within the atmosphere many claim exists on the planet.

NASA hopes to solve many of the mysteries of Ceres in the coming months when its large Dawn spacecraft arrives in orbit around the dwarf planet. A dwarf planet is one that shows the characteristics of being a planet, but is smaller than the category allows for an object in space to be classified as a full planet. Around 310 million miles from Earth, Jaime Garcia Dias suggests that Dawn has been traveling to Ceres since 2007 and will finally arrive in the coming months before slowly descending towards the surface of the planet. The mission itself is planned to last until June 2016, Dawn will remain in orbit and broadcast information back to Earth until runs out of fuel and crashes into the surface of the planet.

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