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The asteroid belt is portrayed in movies as a crowded place with massive rocks bouncing each other like pool balls, capable of sending a mile-wide missile hurtling toward Earth at any moment. The reality is much more fascinating.

Host Dr. Michelle Thaller speaks with Dr. Lucy McFadden, co-investigator of NASA’s Dawn Mission to orbit the asteroids Vesta and Ceres. She shares what they’ve learned by traveling 130 million miles to visit places we’ve always viewed from afar.

Episode Extras

Vesta: Dawn's first asteroids stop
This image of asteroid Vesta is one of many images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft to create an animation showing the diversity of minerals through color representation.
Asteroid Ceres
This view from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows a fresh crater among older terrain on Ceres.

Learn more about Dawn and see even more amazing photos right here.

Orbital Path is produced by PRX and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Don't miss PRX's other science podcasts: Transistor and Outside Magazine.


Ceres Vesta


Image of George Gliba

George Gliba

September 15, 2016 at 10:46 pm

It was mentioned in this episode that the NASA Dawn mission confirmed the HED group of meteorites
are from the asteroid Vesta, but that we didn't have a similar situation of possible meteorites from Ceres. I thought that the CM2, and perhaps also the CV3 carbonaceous chondrite meteorites were thought to be from the dwarf planet Ceres. So, if this is no longer thought to be the case, what is the possible origin for these most abundant of the cabonaceous chondrite meteorites?

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