This Dawn Framing Camera (FC) image of Vesta shows a long chain of craters in the right part of the image. This crater chain appears to extend for roughly 10 kilometers (6 miles) and is less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in width. It is made up of several small craters: some are distinct from one another and others appear to partly merge together. This chain of craters was possibly formed by debris ejected from a larger crater scouring the surface of Vesta. It is unlikely that the large crater in the top of the image is the crater from which the debris originated. This because the chain of craters is not aligned roughly perpendicular to the rim of this crater, which is how they would be expected to be aligned if they originated from this crater.
This image is located in Vesta’s Caparronia quadrangle, in Vesta’s northern hemisphere. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on March 16, 2012. 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