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 Planetary.org 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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