The left-hand image is a Dawn FC (framing camera) image, which shows the apparent brightness of Vesta’s surface. The right-hand image is based on this apparent brightness image, which has had a color-coded height representation of the topography overlain onto it. The topography is calculated from a set of images that were observed from different viewing directions, which allows stereo reconstruction. The various colors correspond to the height of the area. The white and red areas in the topography image are the highest areas and the blue areas are the lowest areas. Lepida crater is the large crater that dominates the bottom half of the image. Lepida has a fresh, irregularly shaped rim. There appears to be a smaller crater, which must be younger than Lepida crater, forming the bulge in the top part of Lepida’s rim. The bottom rim of the smaller crater has blended into the side of Lepida, but it can still be partly distinguished. There are some mounds of material in the bottom of Lepida crater, which were probably deposited here as a result of mass movement of material down the crater’s walls. These mounds cannot be too significant in height because they are not distinguished as a separate color in the topography image.
These images are located in Vesta’s Floronia quadrangle, in Vesta’s northern hemisphere. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained the apparent brightness image with its framing camera on Oct. 26, 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 70 meters (230 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the HAMO (high-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the mission. These images are lambert-azimuthal map projected.
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