Quantcast

Central Coast connection to NASA's historic Dawn space mission - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Central Coast connection to NASA's historic Dawn space mission

Posted: Updated:
A historic day for NASA as a spacecraft moves into orbit around a dwarf planet. One of the team members responsible, Timothy Weise, who is an alum of Cal Poly and now teaches Spacecraft System Design at the school. He's currently serving as the Mission Manager of the "Dawn Spacecraft" engineering team.

The Dawn Spacecraft first explored the giant asteroid Vesta, now it entered orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. Weise said Vesta and Ceres, were formed at the very beginning of the solar system. His job as the Deputy Mission Manager includes sending commands to the spacecraft, and reviewing the engineering data. "People have been exploring the solar system for hundreds of years, the Earth even longer than that. By Dawn exploring Vesta and Ceres, it will provide us more insight into the solar system, and how it formed, and more information on how the earth has formed," Weise said.

For more than two centuries, NASA said Ceres, discovered in 1801, has just been a faint smudge of light amidst the stars. Now they are getting a closer look, Weise said "Seeing the images come in to greater and greater resolution, before we got there we just had these fuzzy images, and resolving all of the details as they come to light is just an amazing experience."

Pictures show a number of craters on Ceres, and a pair of unusual bright spots that scientists believe provide clues as to how the planet was formed and whether its surface is changing. Dawn, will orbit closer and closer to give researchers a chance to look for signs that these strange features are changing, which would suggest current geological activity. "Seeing this new territory and this new technology, it's an amazing experience, it's very rewarding, making more and more milestones and discoveries," Weise said.

Even though it's called a dwarf planet, Ceres is about a quarter the size of the moon. Weise said the spacecraft will orbit the planet for a little more than one year, exploring its surface.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Storm is arriving and looks to intensify in the hours to come

    Storm is arriving and looks to intensify in the hours to come

    Thursday, March 22 2018 2:17 PM EDT2018-03-22 18:17:02 GMT

    Rain is developing across the area at this moment. The key concern will be the total amount of rain and the rain rates.   The National Weather Service has a Flash Flood Watch in place for recent burn areas in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties through Thursday afternoon. 

    Rain is developing across the area at this moment. The key concern will be the total amount of rain and the rain rates.   The National Weather Service has a Flash Flood Watch in place for recent burn areas in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties through Thursday afternoon. 

  • Brad Paisley to hold benefit concert at Santa Barbara Bowl

    Brad Paisley to hold benefit concert at Santa Barbara Bowl

    Wednesday, March 21 2018 11:45 PM EDT2018-03-22 03:45:53 GMT

    Country star Brad Paisley will perform at a concert in May that will benefit communities affected by the Thomas Fire and mudslides. 

    Country star Brad Paisley will perform at a concert in May that will benefit communities affected by the Thomas Fire and mudslides. 

  • Weird NewsMore>>

  • Green Giant survey finds broccoli is America's favorite vegetable

    Green Giant survey finds broccoli is America's favorite vegetable

    Monday, June 18 2018 7:22 AM EDT2018-06-18 11:22:33 GMT
    Green GiantGreen Giant
    Green GiantGreen Giant

    Americans are not forgetting to eat their broccoli! In fact, broccoli is the most popular vegetable in America.

    Americans are not forgetting to eat their broccoli! In fact, broccoli is the most popular vegetable in America.

  • Patchy cloudy skies Wednesday morning

    Patchy cloudy skies Wednesday morning

    Wednesday, May 16 2018 8:35 AM EDT2018-05-16 12:35:47 GMT
    Photo by Lizzylou Mcdermott LinzmeierPhoto by Lizzylou Mcdermott Linzmeier

    Rather than seeing the marine layer forming over the Central Coast, there will be more patchy fog Wednesday morning instead. Most of this activity is happening north of Point Conception. The Santa Barbara County south coast will be mostly clear Wednesday. Due to onshore flow, the morning clouds will likely clear by the afternoon. No advisories are in place yet, but the winds will start to increase y in the afternoon. Ten to 20 mile per hour winds are in the forecast and will start to...

    Rather than seeing the marine layer forming over the Central Coast, there will be more patchy fog Wednesday morning instead. Most of this activity is happening north of Point Conception. The Santa Barbara County south coast will be mostly clear Wednesday. Due to onshore flow, the morning clouds will likely clear by the afternoon. No advisories are in place yet, but the winds will start to increase y in the afternoon. Ten to 20 mile per hour winds are in the forecast and will start to...

  • High pressure brings temperatures up Friday and Saturday

    High pressure brings temperatures up Friday and Saturday

    Friday, May 4 2018 7:21 AM EDT2018-05-04 11:21:10 GMT
    Photo by Mario A. RasgadoPhoto by Mario A. Rasgado

    The increase in temperatures the inland valleys had on Thursday will be much more widespread Friday. The beaches will be in the upper 60s to low 70s, while the coastal valleys will be closer to the mid to upper 70s. The inland valleys will be on the warmer side and close to the mid-80s. Before things start to heat up Friday, expect patchy morning fog along the coastline and some mid to high-level clouds in the coastal and inland valleys. Conditions will clear-up Friday afternoon, how...

    The increase in temperatures the inland valleys had on Thursday will be much more widespread Friday. The beaches will be in the upper 60s to low 70s, while the coastal valleys will be closer to the mid to upper 70s. The inland valleys will be on the warmer side and close to the mid-80s. Before things start to heat up Friday, expect patchy morning fog along the coastline and some mid to high-level clouds in the coastal and inland valleys. Conditions will clear-up Friday afternoon, how...

WEATHER
Doppler Radar
Powered by Frankly

© KSBY.com 2018, KSBY.com
A CORDILLERA COMMUNICATIONS Station
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?