Dawn is a NASA mission designed to study the role of size and water in the evolution of the planets. It is
directed to Vesta and Ceres, the most massive of the protoplanets, baby planets whose growth was interrupted by the
formation of Jupiter.
Ceres may have active hydrological processes leading to seasonal polar caps of water frost, altering our understanding
of the interior of these bodies. Vesta may have rocks more strongly magnetized than on Mars, altering our ideas of how
and when dynamos arise with important lessons for Mars, Earth and Mercury. Ceres may have a thin, permanent atmosphere
distinguishing it from the other minor planets.
Dawn was lauched in 2007, left Vesta after spending about 1 year orbiting around it, and at present is on its journey to Ceres, where the final orbit is expected to begin in 2015.
The only instrument onboard Dawn with Italian leadership is the Vis/NIR imaging spectrometer VIR (Visual
and InfraRed Spectrometer). It produces spectral images in the 0.25-1 micron and 1-5 micron ranges.
VIR is a rebuild of the VIRTIS mapping spectrometer which is onboard the ESA Rosetta mission; it also benefits of the heritage from the Cassini VIMS spectrometer.
Principal Investigator: Maria Cristina De Sanctis, Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Rome, Italy.
External sites: NASA,
VIR public data @ASDC
VIR raw (Level 1a) and calibrated (Level 1b) public data from all the Vesta phases are now freely available at ASDC.
In order to be able to access them please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Observation geometries can be computed by using the SPICE
We are currently working to integrate these data in
MATISSE (Multi-purpose Advanced Tool for the Instruments
of the Solar System Exploration).
|VIR dataset characteristics|
|Target body||4 Vesta|
|Time range||Start: May 3, 2011||End: Sept. 5, 2012|
|Raw dataset size||IR: 19 Gb||Vis: 20 Gb|
|Calibrated dataset size||IR: 38 Gb||Vis: 40 Gb|
|Please review the pending corrections before making use of these data|
Note: The VIR level 1B data has had the 3 micron region set to zero (specifically, the range 2.534 - 3.272 microns).
The calibration contained artifacts in this range which the VIR team believed made the calibrated data, in its current
form, unusable. The VIR team is working on a new calibration for that region.
The raw Level 1A data is unmodified and covers the full wavelength range. The information for calibrating the level 1A
data is available in the VIR Calibration Document.