Publicia crater is centered on the right side of the image and has a sharp, fresh rim. Around Publicia’s rim here are many alternating streaks of bright and dark material tumbling down towards its center. There are mounds of material in Publicia’s base that were probably deposited here after material tumbled down the crater’s sides. Interestingly, the mounds of material do not have distinct bright and dark patches like the material near the rim. The mounds of material have been in the base of the crater long enough for many small craters to form on them, so they must have been there for a reasonably long time. Publicia crater is one of the freshest looking craters in the image so the rest of the surface is probably older.
This image is located in Vesta’s Lucaria Tholus quadrangle, in Vesta’s northern hemisphere. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 14, 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 63 meters (207 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