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DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — A rebel-held city scarred by months of conflict in eastern Ukraine suffered more tragedy Wednesday when a methane gas explosion in a coal mine killed at least 24 workers and left nine missing.
A NASA spacecraft called Dawn is about to become the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet when it slips into orbit Friday around Ceres, the most massive body in the asteroid belt. The mission aims to shed light on the origins of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago, from its "rough and tumble environment of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter," said mission director Marc Rayman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Already scientists are intrigued by the appearance of two bright spots on Ceres. The dwarf planet, which has an average diameter of 590 miles (950 kilometers), makes a full rotation every nine hours, and NASA is hoping for a wealth of data once the spacecraft's orbit begins.