The Dawn Microchip

Credit: Chuck Manning, JPL

Dawn's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail two of the largest protoplanets remaining intact since their formations. Ceres and Vesta reside in the extensive zone between Mars and Jupiter together with many other smaller bodies, called the asteroid belt. Each has followed a very different evolutionary path constrained by the diversity of processes that operated during the first few million years of solar system evolution. Dawn is scheduled to begin its exploration of Vesta in 2011 and Ceres in 2015.
You can find more information about the mission at the Dawn Mission Homepage .

During the “Send Your Name to the Asteroid Belt” campaign, more than 360,000 people signed up to participate in a virtual voyage to the asteroid belt. The computer chip holding all the participants’ names has been installed on the Dawn spacecraft.


Date of Launch: September 27, 2007, 7:34 a.m. Eastern Time (4:34 a.m. Pacific Time)

Status: on its way to the asteroid belt.


Participation Certificate (original link currently not available)

Image credit: NASA/UCLA