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The ion propulsion system goes through a test on Earth. Dawn has three 30-centimeter-diameter (12-inch) ion thrust units. It produces an electrical charge to accelerate ions from xenon fuel that will be 10 times faster than chemical fuel.
The spacecraft uses only 10 ounces of fuel per day and would accelerate on an Earth highway from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4 days. But without gravity in space, its got speed to burn.
Here's what the Dawn spacecraft must look like with its solar panels fully extended as it orbits Vesta.
Dawn's next target will be the dwarf planet Ceres - seen here through the Hubble.