This detail of a Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows scarps, hummocky (eg. wavy/ undulating) terrain and impacts in Vesta’s south polar region. The large scarps are most visible in the top right and bottom left parts of the image and partially surround this southern region. Slumping features and landslides can be clearly seen near the base of the largest scarp in the top right of the image. The hummocky terrain near the scarps is probably due to landsliding, but it is unlikely that this mechanism formed all of the hummocky terrain. Impacts have resulted in both the scarps and hummocky terrain being covered in many craters ranging from small to large in diameter. Counting the distribution of these craters can help to date the various parts of Vesta’s surface.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 17th 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface is 2740km and the image resolution is about 260 meters per pixel.
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.
More information about Dawn is online at http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA