Dr. Mike Gaffey appointed as a participating scientist on the DAWN at Vesta spacecraft mission
Dr. Mike Gaffey received official notice of his appointment as a Participating Scientist on the DAWN at Vesta spacecraft mission. The DAWN spacecraft, which was launched by NASA in September 2007, is scheduled to go into orbit about asteroid 4 Vesta in August 2011. The spacecraft will remain in orbit for ten months investigating the surface, interior and composition of Vesta before departing for its second target, asteroid 1 Ceres. Vesta is the second largest asteroid and appears to have a nearly intact basaltic crust except for a huge impact basin centered on its south pole. Dr. Gaffey is an expert on asteroids in general, and on Vesta in particular. His work with Earth-based telescopes in the 1980’s and 1990’s resulted in a compositional map of Vesta and solidified its role as the parent body the basaltic meteorites. Dr. Gaffey’s proposal was ranked 2nd of the sixty proposals submitted for the several Participating Scientist positions. The $357,600 in approved funding over the next four years will support the efforts of Dr. Gaffey and Dr. Vishnu Reddy, the Co-Investigator on the proposal.