Photos: Asteroid Vesta and NASA's Dawn Spacecraft

Extremely Bright Area on Vesta


This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the brightest area seen on Vesta so far. The image is part of a set of images taken by Dawn's framing cameras on Dec. 27, 2011. [Full Story]

Bright Rays from Canuleia Crater


In this image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, bright material extends out from the crater Canuleia on Vesta. This image was obtained by Dawn's framing camera on Oct. 25, 2011. [Full Story]

Bright Material at Numisia Crater


This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the crater Numisia, located just south of the equator in the Numisia quadrangle on Vesta. The image was obtained by Dawn's framing camera on Oct. 21, 2011. [Full Story]

Dark Materials at the Snowman


This mosaic from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows dark material near a series of craters known as the "snowman" on Vesta. That ejected material is a complex mixture of components. They likely include both dark material thrown out from the craters during the impacts that created them (ejecta), and darker melt that occurred during the impact. The images were obtained from Oct. 11 to 16, 2011. [Full Story]

Northern Shadow on Asteroid Vesta


This mosaic of the surface of Vesta was made from images obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Feb. 5, 2012, while the area was entirely in the sun's shadow.

Dark-Rayed Crater and Spots


This image of a dark-rayed impact crater and several dark spots was obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The dark materials are located near an older, larger crater in the Sextilia quadrangle of Vesta's southern hemisphere. This image was taken by Dawn's framing cameras on January 8, 2012.

Wall of Rheasilvia


This still from an animation made from data obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the topography of a portion of the wall and interior of the Rheasilvia impact basin (310 miles or 500 kilometers in diameter) in Vesta's south-polar region. This basin affected Vesta's global shape and geology. Image released March 20, 2012.

Caparronia Crater on Vesta Asteroid


These Dawn FC (framing camera) images show Caparronia crater, after which Caparronia quadrangle is named. The left image is a brightness image, which is taken directly through the clear filter of the FC and shows the brightness and darkness of the surface. The right image uses the same brightness image as its base but then a color-coded height representation of the topography is overlain onto it. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 23, 2011.

Bright Spots Near Marcia


Numerous small, bright spots appear on Vesta, as seen in this image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft. This particular image was taken on Oct. 28, 2011.

Giant Asteroid Vesta


This close-up photo of the asteroid Vesta taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows a part of one of the troughs at the equator of the asteroid. In the image, the floor of one of the equatorial troughs appears as the brighter deposit at the bottom of this image, contrasted against the darker band of the trough edge.

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