If you click here, you can read about the Dawn spacecraft
. This is JPL's site for the Dawn mission to the asteroid belt. The craft is headed for Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt, considerably more than 300 miles in diameter. A commentator on the radio has described the space craft as an automated "geologist." I've still to read the JPL web page, so i'll know more when i've done that.
Several of us have discussed the future of space flight in various threads here, and among that number are those who consider the asteroid belt as the best candidate for current exploration. I've said that it's probably the best shot at getting corporate funding for space flight. This is perfect for automated space craft, and perhaps some day for von Neumann machines
Whaddayathink, goys and birls?