Resolution of Vesta from Dawn now better than Hubble

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Now this is more like it - an update just a few days after the last one. A picture of Vesta has just been released, and it looks like this:

The large crater there is as clear as day, though we knew about that one before. Besides that there's a mountain-like thing in the middle, another one down on the left, and some dark spots that might be depressions or just darker terrain. The post on comments that Vesta is a bit lumpier in appearance than a lot of other bodies we know of this size, and that's due to its quite high density. A large number of moons around this size are made of ice and thus end up being a lot smoother, without many protrusions capable of lasting a great length of time. Vesta, as far as we know, was molten for a few million years and cooled down quite quickly, and then just got battered a fair amount after that over the next few billion years.

Current distance: 218,000 km. This image was taken at a distance of 260,000 km.


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