This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows Laelia crater and Sextilia crater. Sextilia crater is the large crater in the top right of the image, which is approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) in diameter. The quadrangle in which these craters are located is named after Sextilia crater. Laelia crater is the smaller crater (approximately 9.2 kilometers (5.7 miles) in diameter) offset from the center of the image that has dark material inside of it and surrounding it. Sextilia crater only contains bright material, which slumps from its rim towards it center, so it is interesting that it is located in such close proximity to Laelia crater, which is dominated by dark material.
This image is located in Vesta’s Sextilia quadrangle, in Vesta’s southern hemisphere. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 2, 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 700 kilometers (435 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 65 meters (213 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the HAMO (high-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