This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows many craters of different sizes and states of preservation on Vesta’s surface. In the top of the image there are four large, very degraded craters that have diameters of around 5 kilometers (3 miles). On account of their very degraded state these craters are probably some of the oldest craters in the image. There are many younger, much fresher craters that are generally less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in diameter. There are also many linear features in this image. A number of grooves and ridges run diagonally across the image, from the top left to bottom right. And more feint, smaller scale grooves run in the opposite direction, from the top right to bottom left.
This image is located in Vesta’s Pinaria quadrangle, in Vesta’s southern 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