This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows a large impact crater whose rim is rather smoothed and degraded. There are many smaller, younger craters surrounding and inside of this crater and these have sharper, fresher rims. Generally, the freshness or smoothness of the rim of a crater is an indication of whether it is younger or older. In the top of the image there is some bright and dark material slumping from the rim of this crater. There are also many grooves running diagonally across the landscape.
This image is located in Vesta’s Oppia quadrangle and the center of the image is 4.0 degrees south latitude, 358.6 degrees east longitude. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Dec. 13, 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 272 kilometers (163 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 25 meters (82 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the LAMO (low-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