Last month Dawn, a space probe sent to analyze the mega asteroid Vesta and its bigger brother Ceres officially entered the asteroid belt.
Contrary to what you might have seen on Star Wars, it’s very unlikely that Dawn will run into an over sized boulder, let alone a large pebble as it travels its way between the inner and outer planets.
Despite the fact that Dawn is about 600 days away from its first destination (that would be Vesta), its analysis could determine whether or not establishing mining colonies within the asteroid belt is worth the hassle.
Dawn’s final destination is Ceres, a world that may hold promise for water ice, making it a valuable asset (at least as far as space real estate goes).
NASA still has not determined what it will do after Ceres, although hopefully they will consider exploring other promising asteroids (like Pallas, Juno and Hygiea).
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