Newest image of Vesta from Dawn: taken from 152,000 km away on 24 June

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The newest image of Vesta has just come in today, and it was taken a week ago at a distance of 152,000 km, less than half the distance from the Earth to the moon. It is available here, but for some reason the production of the image was done poorly and gives Vesta a weird whitish border that ruins the fun. Luckily on the thread here on some better alterations have been made to it. Here's what one of them looks like:

Vesta seems to be getting lumpier and lumpier as resolution improves. Craters on a body such as this one are particularly exciting due to its formation - molten in the beginning, a quick cooling off, and then pretty much no internal activity meaning that each and every one of these craters is a clue into the past of the Solar System itself.

Current distance to Vesta is a mere 76,000 km, already less than half the distance this image was taken at just a week ago. Arrival happens this month...


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