NASA to restart canceled mission to two asteroids

In a reversal, NASA on Monday decided to restart a mission to explore two of the solar system's largest asteroids just weeks after the project was killed because of budget woes.

The space agency earlier this month scrapped the Dawn mission to orbit the asteroids Ceres and Vesta, nearly a half year after it was put on hold due to cost overruns and technical problems.

NASA decided to review the cancellation after the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which managed the mission, made an appeal.

"Our review determined the project team has made substantive progress on many of this mission's technical issues, and, in the end, we have confidence the mission will succeed," NASA Associate Administrator Rex Geveden, who chaired the review panel, said in a statement.

Dawn would be the first spacecraft to circle Ceres and Vesta, which reside in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The asteroids are believed to have formed in different parts of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago, and studying them could provide clues to how the sun and planets formed, reports AP.

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