This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows craters with both sharp and smooth rims. The most obvious is the large crater in the bottom left of the image. The left side of this crater has a very distinct, sharp rim while the right side has a much more degraded, rounded and less clear rim. A pile of material is generally located at the bottom of the craters’ degraded sides. This suggests that landslides have taken place on these sides of the craters. Some material is seen slumping towards the center of the craters from the fresh sides but the volume is significantly less than on the degraded sides. Craters such as these are observed reasonably frequently on Vesta. There is also a scattering of both bright and dark material in small patches across this image. A small crater on the left side of the image has a particularly noticeable surrounding of bright material.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on September 30th 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 702 km and the image resolution is about 63 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