Vestas Surface in 3D A Big Mountain at the Asteroids South
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Vesta's Surface in 3D: A Big Mountain at the Asteroid's South Pole

November 6, 2012
September 16, 2011 - PASADENA, Calif. -- When NASA’s Dawn spacecraft sent the first images of the giant asteroid Vesta to the ground, scientists were fascinated by an enormous mound inside a big circular depression at the south pole. From stereo images, recorded from an altitude of about 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) above the surface, it was possible to compose 3D images that show the structure of the mountain, displayed in the right half of this 3D image. The base of the mountain has a diameter of about 125 miles (200 kilometers), and its altitude above the surroundings is about 9 miles (15 kilometers). The vicinity of the peak of the mountain shows landslides that occurred when material from the flanks of the mountain were slipping down. Also visible are tectonic structures from tension in Vesta’s crust. Use red-cyan (red-blue, or red-green) glasses to view the 3D impression of the image. Image resolution is about 260 meters per pixel. 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. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras were 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. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

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