Dawn/New Horizons Update

The Dawn spaceprobe, now orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres, took the lovely photograph above a few days ago (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA). Click the image to zoom.

And here is a NASA/JPL-Caltech artist’s concept of Dawn’s ion thrusters in action. The xenon ions glow blue:

Meanwhile, the New Horizons spaceprobe is getting closer and closer to Pluto:

This means the pictures are getting better. As New Horizons looks towards Pluto and Charon, we are starting to see hints of surface features:

We can even see colours, although the pictures are still very fuzzy: