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What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

The Dawn spacecraft reaches Ceres and goes into orbit on Friday, March 6. It has just returned new images of Ceres including one showing two bright spots in one crater. A news briefing was held Monday at noon EST, for more, see the NASA Press Release.

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

March 02

Launch of Zond 4 flight test to 300,000 km from Earth.
Launch of Pioneer 10, first mission to outer solar system and Jupiter.
Launch of Rosetta mission to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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