This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows a small crater with ejecta made of dark material, in the center of the image. This crater is roughly 1.25 kilometers (0.78 miles) in diameter, has a reasonably sharp rim and the dark ejecta extends for roughly 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles). The dark ejected material does not extend evenly around the crater, but is concentrated on the top left side of the crater. Dark material is also visible in a large part of the interior of the crater. None of the other craters have such clearly visible dark material associated with them. The origin of Vesta’s dark material is enigmatic and is currently under investigation.
This image is located in Vesta’s Urbinia quadrangle in the Vestan southern hemisphere. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Dec. 18, 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 272 kilometers (169 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