This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows a surface with many craters and linear chains of small craters that merge into ridges on the giant asteroid Vesta.
The image covers an area in the cratered highlands, centered around 35.6 degrees north latitude and 2.6 degrees east longitude. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Dec. 18, 2011. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 189 kilometers and the image has a resolution of about 25 meters 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