Picture of the Day

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

A new image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows a mountain almost three times as high as Mt. Everest, amidst the topography in the south polar region of the giant asteroid Vesta. The peak of Vesta’s south pole mountain, seen in the center of the image, rises about 22 km above the average height of the surrounding terrain. Another impressive structure is a large scarp, a cliff with a steep slope, on the right side of this image. The scarp bounds part of the south polar depression, and the Dawn team’s scientists believe features around its base are probably the result of landslides.

The Asteriod Vesta

This full view of the giant asteroid Vesta was taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, as part of a rotation characterization sequence on July 24, 2011, at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers). A rotation characterization sequence helps the scientists and engineers by giving an initial overview of the character of the surface as Vesta rotated underneath the spacecraft. This view of Vesta shows impact craters of various sizes and grooves parallel to the equator.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA