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Dawn – first visual contact with Vesta

The camera system on board the Dawn spacecraft has acquired its first image of the massive asteroid Vesta. Although the mission's first target is still about 975,000 kilometres away, appearing as just a large white dot, "we now have visual contact with our objective," said Ralf Jaumann of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). In August 2011, the camera will photograph the asteroid from an orbit with a planned survey altitude of 2700 kilometres; the data will then be processed to develop a three-dimensional model.

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