This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows the hummocky (i.e. wavy/ undulating) terrain of Vesta’s Rheasilvia quadrangle, which is the south polar region. This hummocky terrain is clearly seen as the pattern of hills and depressions that extends across the image. Some of these hills terminate abruptly and have scarps (i.e. cliffs) along their margins. Due to the direction of sunlight in this image these scarps are visible as linear shadowed regions. There are also narrow, linear grooves running obliquely across the image, most noticeably in the top of the image. There is a range of crater sizes from less than 1km to around 15km in diameter. The smaller craters tend to be fresher with sharper rims and the larger craters tend to be more degraded with rounder rims. A large, roughly 10km diameter, crater in the top left of the image contains linear features which are probably due to slumping towards the center of the crater.
This image is in Vesta’s Rheasilvia quadrangle and the center latitude and longitude of the image is 74.8°S, 207.4°E. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on October 17th 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 702 km and the image has a resolution of about 70 meters per pixel. This image was acquired during the HAMO (High Altitude Mapping Orbit) phase of the mission.
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