This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows craters of different sizes and shapes in Vesta’s southern hemisphere. The freshest craters can be classified as fresh scarp rimmed craters and the less fresh classified as partly degraded subdued rim craters. Some craters, particularly in the lower left of the image, show both sharp and smooth crater rims. This is rather unusual and better resolution images will be necessary to understand the process(es) responsible. Craters that have impacted pre-existing craters are also clear in this image. For example, the crater in roughly the center of the image has at least two other, smaller craters along its rim. Vesta’s surface becomes more heavily cratered moving from the southern to northern hemispheres, as can be seen in the larger population of craters in the top right of the image.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 29th 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 2740 km and the image resolution is about 250 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://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA