Dear Phendawnmenal Readers,

By Marc Rayman Dawn is going out on a high! Or maybe a low. Rapidly nearing the end of a unique decade-long interplanetary expedition, Dawn is taking phenomenal pictures of dwarf planet Ceres as it swoops closer to the ground than ever before. While the pictures are too new for compelling scientific conclusions to be reached, a clear consensus has already emerged: Wow!!!Every 27 hours, the bold adventurer plunges from 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) down to just 22 miles (35…

Dear Expecdawnt Readers

By Marc Rayman Propelled by the perfect combination of xenon ions, hydrazine rocket propellant and adrenaline, Dawn is on the verge of its most ambitious exploits yet. Having flawlessly completed its latest assignment to study Ceres, the veteran explorer is now aiming for a new low. Earlier today Dawn ignited ion engine #2 to start maneuvering to its lowest altitude above the dwarf planet. Soon the spaceship will be skimming closer to the alien landscapes of rock, ice and salt…

Dear Vernal Dawnquinoxes,

By Marc Rayman A veteran explorer is leisurely orbiting the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system. Measuring space radiation high over Ceres, Dawn revolves once every 30 days in its gravitational master’s firm grip. Dawn is well-known for its patience, and the pace of its activities has been decidedly relaxed in this orbit. That is about to change. There is now only one revolution to go before the spacecraft begins the final campaign of its long and rewarding…

Dear Long Disdawnce Travelers

By Marc Rayman Dawn has now logged 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) on its unique deep-space adventure. Sailing on a gentle breeze of xenon ions, the ambitious explorer journeyed for nearly four years to what had been only a small, fuzzy orb for over two centuries of terrestrial observations. Dawn spent more than a year there transforming it into a vast, complex protoplanet. Having sent its Vestan riches safely back to distant Earth, Dawn devoted another 2.5 years to…