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What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

The Dawn OpNav camera has taken the best picture of Ceres to date, with better resolution than the best Hubble images. Better images will be returned as the spacecraft gets closer to the asteroid in preparation for its March 6 arrival and insertion into orbit.

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa 2 sample return mission to asteroid 1999 JU3 was launched successfully on Dec. 3 at 04:22:04 UT (11:22 p.m. Dec. 2 EST). The spacecraft will reach the asteroid in June 2018 and the sample will be returned to Earth in December 2020. Also launched with Hayabusa 2 was the PROCYON asteroid flyby small satellite.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

January 31

Launch of Explorer 1, first U.S. satellite.
Launch of Luna 9, first spacecraft to successfully soft-land on the Moon.
Lunar Orbiter 5 intentionally crashed on the Moon.
Launch of Apollo 14, third mission to land humans on the Moon.

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