Status Report

NASA Dawn Image of Vesta: Curved Surface Features

By SpaceRef Editor
June 2, 2012
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This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows many curved ridges that are typical of Vesta’s southern hemisphere. These curved ridges are oriented diagonally across the image and are typically around 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) in length. The curved ridges are not visible in the top part of the image. Also in this image, there are two nice examples of craters that have formed on the rim of another crater. One is located in the top left of the image and the other is offset from the center of the image.

This image is located in Vesta’s Sextilia quadrangle, in Vesta’s southern hemisphere. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Dec. 18, 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 272 kilometers (169 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 25 meters (82 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the LAMO (low-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the mission.

The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington D.C. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras have been developed and built under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, with significant contributions by DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The Framing Camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA/JPL.

Image Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/ MPS/ DLR/ IDA. Larger image.

SpaceRef staff editor.