PASADENA, Calif. -- These Dawn FC (framing camera) images show part of Vesta’s equatorial region, which contains a prominent, deep impact crater (lower center of image) and large troughs (linear depressions). The left image is an albedo image, which is taken directly through the clear filter of the FC. Such an image shows the albedo (eg. brightness/ darkness) of the surface. The right image uses the same albedo image as its base but then a color-coded height representation of the topography is overlain onto it. The topography is calculated from a set of images that were observed from different viewing directions, called stereo images. The various colors correspond to the height of the area that they color. For example, the white areas in the bottom corners of the image are the highest areas and the blue areas along the top of the image are the lowest. The prominent impact crater is set into a topographically high area defined by the red and white color-coding. Above this area there are a number of deep troughs represented by green and blue color-coding. A conspicuous trough on the left, which looks like it could be quite deep in the albedo image, is shown by the color-coding in the topography image to be only a little shallower than the area surrounding it.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained the albedo image with its framing camera on August 11, 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 2740 km the image has a resolution of about 250 meters per pixel. The images are projected using a lambert-azimuthal map projection.
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