Reply to post: Re: Dawn will be orbiting Ceres for a very long time

DEEPENING MYSTERY of BRIGHT LIGHTS on dwarf world Ceres

Simon Harris Silver badge

Re: Dawn will be orbiting Ceres for a very long time

The ion engine is for getting from place to place.

Don't forget it uses hydrazine as well for its reaction control system - this gives it the thrust it needs to rotate itself (e.g. between imaging Ceres and repositioning itself to send those images home). The job of maintaining or altering its orientation was to be partly down to 3 of its 4 reaction wheels, but two have stopped working, so it'll be using a bit more hydrazine than planned for orientation control now to compensate for only have 2 working wheels - there should be enough in reserve though.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019