This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows part of the ejecta deposit surrounding the ‘Snowman’ craters, the largest of which has been named Marcia. Ejecta deposits consist of small debris thrown out of craters that are formed by an impact. Because they are made of small debris ejecta deposits commonly have a smooth appearance. The ejecta also has a bubbly texture and some smaller, younger craters superposed onto it. In the bottom right part of the image there is a roughly 2 kilometer (1 mile) diameter crater with dark rays of ejecta extending out from it. These rays have an impressive range of roughly 10 kilometers (6 miles).
This image is located in Vesta’s Marcia quadrangle and the center of the image is 19.6 degrees north latitude, 179.7 degrees east longitude. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 26, 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 700 kilometers (435 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 70 meters (230 feet) 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