Photos: Asteroid Vesta and NASA's Dawn Spacecraft

Layered Young Crater


This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows a young crater on Vesta that is 9 miles (15 kilometers) in diameter. Layering is visible in the crater walls, as are large boulders that were thrown out in the material ejected from the impact. This image was obtained by Dawn's framing camera image was acquired on Dec. 21, 2011.

Perspective View of Layered Young Crater


This image, made from data obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows a perspective view of a layered young crater in the Rheasilvia basin at Vesta. Image released March 20, 2012.

Map of Vesta's Equatorial Latitudes and Southern Hemisphere


This is the first global map of the giant asteroid Vesta composed from images recorded by the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

Bright and Dark at West Rim of Marcia Crater


The interplay of bright and dark material at the rim of Marcia crater on Vesta is visible in this image mosaic taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The bright and dark material appear to be exposed from weathering. This images that make up the mosaic were obtained by Dawn's framing camera on Dec. 21, 2011, and Jan. 5, 2012.

Close-up Photo of Vesta


This image, one of the first obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in its low altitude mapping orbit, shows part of the rim of a fresh crater on the giant asteroid Vesta. The terrain shown here is located in an area known as the Heavily Cratered Terrain in the northern hemisphere.

Asteroid Vesta Multicolor Rock Composition


This image using color data obtained by the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows Vesta's southern hemisphere in color, centered on the Rheasilvia formation. Rheasilvia is an impact basin measured at about 290 miles (467 kilometers) in diameter with a central mound reaching about 14 miles (23 kilometers) high. The black hole in the middle is data that have been omitted due to the angle between the sun, Vesta and the spacecraft.

Asteroid Vesta "Snowman" Craters


A set of three craters, nicknamed "Snowman," are seen in this image of the asteroid Vesta's northern hemisphere. This image was obtained by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft on July 24, 2011, from a distance of about 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers).

Viewing the South Pole of Vesta


This image obtained by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta.

Asteroid Vesta 3D Video


A 3-D video of the asteroid Vesta incorporates high-resolution images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from July to August 2011. The images were obtained as Dawn approached Vesta and circled the giant asteroid during the mission's survey orbit phase.

High Cliffs at Vesta's South Pole


The south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta reveals cliffs that are several miles or kilometers high, deep grooves, and craters.

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