3-D Image of Asteroid Vesta's Eastern Hemisphere

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2012

This 3-D image, called an anaglyph, shows the topography of Vesta's eastern hemisphere. To create this anaglyph, two differently colored images are superimposed with an offset to create depth. When viewed through red-blue glasses this anaglyph shows a 3-D view of Vesta's surface. The images used to generate the two differently colored images that make up this anaglyph were obtained during the approach phase of NASA's Dawn mission in July 2011.

At the time the distance from Dawn to Vesta was about 5,200 kilometers (3,200 miles), which results in an image resolution of about 500 meters (1,600 feet) per pixel. The depth effect or topography differences in this anaglyph were calculated from the shape model of Vesta. A number of Vesta's large features are clear in this anaglyph. Firstly, the equatorial troughs are visible around Vesta's equator. These troughs encircle most of the asteroid and are up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide. Secondly, to the north of these troughs there are a number of highly degraded, old, large craters. Vesta's heavily cratered nature is clear from this anaglyph because younger, fresher craters are overlain onto many sets of older, more degraded craters. Due to Vesta's angle towards the Sun the northernmost part of Vesta has yet to be illuminated and studied and is shown in shadow in this anaglyph. Finally, in the southern hemisphere there are generally fewer craters than in the northern hemisphere. Also visible protruding out from Vesta's south polar region is a side view of the central complex of the Rheasilvia impact basin.

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 D.C. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras have been 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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