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Old 03-01-2012, 12:52 PM   #91
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The Planetary Society Blog: Dawn Journal: Bonus time at low altitude
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:54 AM   #92
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Dawn can go from 0 to 60 in 4 days. Not bad at all..
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:57 PM   #93
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Universe Today: Dawn gets Big Science Boost at Best Vesta Mapping Altitude



Vesta imaged by NASA’s Dawn Asteroid Orbiter
Dawn is currently at work at the Low Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO) acquiring new imagery and spectra of much higher resolution compared to these images acquired at higher altitudes and is also filling in gaps of surface data. The image from Dawn’s Framing Camera, at left, was taken on July 24 at a distance of 3,200 miles soon after achieving orbit around Vesta. The mosaic from Dawn’s Visible and infrared spectrometer (VIR), at right, was acquired from High-altitude mapping orbit (HAMO).
Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/ ASI/ INAF/ IAPS. Collage: Ken Kremer
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:28 PM   #94
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Sees New Surface Features on Giant Asteroid

March 21, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Dawn spacecraft has revealed unexpected details on the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. New images and data highlight the diversity of Vesta's surface and reveal unusual geologic features, some of which were never previously seen on asteroids.

These results were discussed today at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference at The Woodlands, Texas.

Click on images for details
Bright Rays from Canuleia Crater

In this image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, bright material extends out from the crater Canuleia on Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/UMD
Map of Bright Areas on Vesta

This mosaic depicts a portion of Vesta imaged by NASA's Dawn spacecraft where pockets of bright materials are visible.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/UMD
Bright Material at Numisia Crater

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the crater Numisia, located just south of the equator in the Numisia quadrangle on Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/UMD
Bright Spots Near Marcia

Caption: Numerous small, bright spots appear on Vesta, as seen in this image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/UMD
Extremely Bright Area

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the brightest area seen on Vesta so far.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/UMD
Dark-Rayed Crater and Spots

This image of a dark-rayed impact crater and several dark spots was obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/ASU
Bright and Dark at West Rim of Marcia Crater

The interplay of bright and dark material at the rim of Marcia crater on Vesta is visible in this image mosaic taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/LPI/ASU
Dark Materials at the Snowman

This mosaic from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows dark material near a series of craters known as the "snowman" on Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/ASU
Wall of Rheasilvia

This animation made from data obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows the topography of a portion of the wall and interior of the Rheasilvia impact basin (310 miles or 500 kilometers in diameter) in Vesta's south-polar region.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Close-up of Rheasilvia's Wall

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows a close-up view of the wall of the Rheasilvia impact basin on Vesta. Rheasilvia, which is 310 miles or 500 kilometers in diameter, dominates southern Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Layered Young Crater

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows a young crater on Vesta that is 9 miles (15 kilometers) in diameter. Layering is visible in the crater walls, as are large boulders that were thrown out in the material ejected from the impact.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Perspective View of Layered Young Crater

This image, made from data obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows a perspective view of a layered young crater in the Rheasilvia basin at Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI
Flowing Material

This image, from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows rock material that has moved across the surface and flowed into a low area in the ridged floor of the Rheasilvia basin on Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Wall and Terrace at Marcia Crater

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows an interior wall and southern terrace of Marcia crater on Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Northern Shadow

This mosaic of the surface of Vesta was made from images obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Feb. 5, 2012, while the area was entirely in the sun's shadow.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/JHUAPL


Vesta is one of the brightest objects in the solar system and the only asteroid in the so-called main belt between Mars and Jupiter visible to the naked eye from Earth. Dawn has found that some areas on Vesta can be nearly twice as bright as others, revealing clues about the asteroid's history.

"Our analysis finds this bright material originates from Vesta and has undergone little change since the formation of Vesta over 4 billion years ago," said Jian-Yang Li, a Dawn participating scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park. "We're eager to learn more about what minerals make up this material and how the present Vesta surface came to be."

Bright areas appear everywhere on Vesta but are most predominant in and around craters. The areas vary from several hundred feet to around 10 miles (16 kilometers) across. Rocks crashing into the surface of Vesta seem to have exposed and spread this bright material. This impact process may have mixed the bright material with darker surface material.

While scientists had seen some brightness variations in previous images of Vesta from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Dawn scientists also did not expect such a wide variety of distinct dark deposits across its surface. The dark materials on Vesta can appear dark gray, brown and red. They sometimes appear as small, well-defined deposits around impact craters. They also can appear as larger regional deposits, like those surrounding the impact craters scientists have nicknamed the "snowman."

"One of the surprises was the dark material is not randomly distributed," said David Williams, a Dawn participating scientist at Arizona State University, Tempe. "This suggests underlying geology determines where it occurs."

The dark materials seem to be related to impacts and their aftermath. Scientists theorize carbon-rich asteroids could have hit Vesta at speeds low enough to produce some of the smaller deposits without blasting away the surface.

Higher-speed asteroids also could have hit Vesta's surface and melted the volcanic basaltic crust, darkening existing surface material. That melted conglomeration appears in the walls and floors of impact craters, on hills and ridges, and underneath brighter, more recent material called ejecta, which is material thrown out from a space rock impact.

Vesta's dark materials suggest the giant asteroid may preserve ancient materials from the asteroid belt and beyond, possibly from the birth of the solar system.

"Some of these past collisions were so intense they melted the surface," said Brett Denevi, a Dawn participating scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. "Dawn's ability to image the melt marks a unique find. Melting events like these were suspected, but never before seen on an asteroid."

Dawn launched in September 2007. It will reach its second destination, Ceres, in February 2015.

"Dawn's ambitious exploration of Vesta has been going beautifully," said Marc Rayman, Dawn chief engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "As we continue to gather a bounty of data, it is thrilling to reveal fascinating alien landscapes."

To view the new images, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.

{...}




NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 12-091 - NASA's Dawn Sees New Surface Features on Giant Asteroid Vesta

SPACE.com: New Photos of Asteroid Vesta Reveal Surprisingly Bright Spots
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:35 PM   #95
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BBC article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17481911

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Old 03-29-2012, 11:56 PM   #96
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The Planetary Society Blog: Dawn Journal: Saluting the Sun:

Dark and bright material in a crater wall

This Dawn image of Vesta shows part of a large crater that has an irregularly shaped, fresh rim. This crater is also distinctive because it has many outcrops of dark and bright material originating from its rim and from the interior slope of the crater. This bright and dark material then slumps down towards the center of the crater along the crater walls. These slumps of dark and bright material extend for up to 4 kilometers. The interior sides of this crater are dominated by the dark and bright material and have a mottled appearance. In contrast, the floor of this crater is more uniform in brightness and looks much less mottled. This image is located a few degrees south of the vestan equator and was obtained on January 24, 2012. The image has a resolution of about 25 meters per pixel and was acquired during the LAMO (low-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the mission.
Credit: NASA / JPL / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:15 PM   #97
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Gets Extra Time to Explore Vesta

April 18, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Dawn mission has received official confirmation that 40 extra days have been added to its exploration of the giant asteroid Vesta, the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt. The mission extension allows Dawn to continue its scientific observations at Vesta until Aug. 26, while still arriving at the dwarf planet Ceres at the same originally scheduled target date in February 2015.

"We are leveraging our smooth and successful operations at Vesta to provide for even more scientific discoveries for NASA and the world." said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "This extra time will allow us to extend our scientific investigation and learn more about this mysterious world."

The extension will not require any new funding, and will draw on financial reserves that have been carefully managed by the Dawn project. The flexibility provided by the spacecraft's use of efficient ion propulsion system allows it to maintain its originally planned Ceres arrival.

The extension allows for extra observations at Dawn's current low-altitude mapping orbit (average altitude 130 miles or 210 kilometers), which will now last until May 1. The additional time enables the gamma ray and neutron detector to build the best possible maps of the elemental composition of Vesta's surface and improve data for the gravity experiment, the two primary scientific investigations at the low-altitude orbit. The spacecraft's camera and spectrometer are also obtaining additional high-resolution images.

Additional time will also be spent in the planned second high-altitude mapping orbit later this summer. When Dawn arrived at Vesta in July 2011, much of the northern hemisphere was in shadow. But with the passage of time, more of that area will bask in sunshine.

"Dawn has beamed back to us such dazzling Vestan vistas that we are happy to stay a little longer and learn more about this special world," said Christopher Russell, Dawn's principal investigator at UCLA. "While we have this one-of-a-kind opportunity to orbit Vesta, we want to make the best and most complete datasets that we can."

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:24 PM   #98
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Reveals Secrets of Giant Asteroid Vesta

April 24, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. - Findings from NASA's Dawn spacecraft reveal new details about the giant asteroid Vesta, including its varied surface composition, sharp temperature changes and clues to its internal structure. The findings were presented today at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, Austria, and will help scientists better understand the early solar system and processes that dominated its formation.

Images from Dawn's framing camera and visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, taken 420 miles (680 kilometers) and 130 miles (210 kilometers) above the surface of the asteroid, show a variety of surface mineral and rock patterns. Coded false-color images help scientists better understand Vesta's composition and enable them to identify material that was once molten below the asteroid's surface.

Click on images for details
Aquilia Area in Color

These composite images from the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft show three views of a terrain with ridges and grooves near Aquilia crater in the southern hemisphere of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Vibidia Crater in Color

These composite images from the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft show three views of the comparatively fresh crater named Vibidia on the giant asteroid Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Tarpeia Crater, Close, Closer, Closest

These images of Tarpeia crater, near the south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta, were obtained by the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer on NASA's Dawn spacecraft.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/INAF
Tarpeia Temperature

This colorized image from NASA's Dawn mission shows temperature variations at Tarpeia crater, near the south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/INAF
Shape and Gravity of Vesta's South Pole

This set of images from NASA's Dawn mission shows topography of the southern hemisphere of the giant asteroid Vesta and a map of Vesta's gravity variations that have been adjusted to account for Vesta's shape.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA


Researchers also see breccias, which are rocks fused during impacts from space debris. Many of the materials seen by Dawn are composed of iron- and magnesium-rich minerals, which often are found in Earth's volcanic rocks. Images also reveal smooth pond-like deposits, which might have formed as fine dust created during impacts settled into low regions.

"Dawn now enables us to study the variety of rock mixtures making up Vesta's surface in great detail," said Harald Hiesinger, a Dawn participating scientist at Münster University in Germany. "The images suggest an amazing variety of processes that paint Vesta's surface."

At the Tarpeia crater near the south pole of the asteroid, Dawn imagery revealed bands of minerals that appear as brilliant layers on the crater's steep slopes. The exposed layering allows scientists to see farther back into the geological history of the giant asteroid.

The layers closer to the asteroid's surface bear evidence of contamination from space rocks bombarding Vesta. Layers below preserve more of their original characteristics. Frequent landslides on the slopes of the craters also have revealed other hidden mineral patterns.

"These results from Dawn suggest Vesta's 'skin' is constantly renewing," said Maria Cristina De Sanctis, lead of the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer team based at Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome.

Dawn has given scientists a near 3-D view into Vesta's internal structure. By making ultra-sensitive measurements of the asteroid's gravitational tug on the spacecraft, Dawn can detect unusual densities within its outer layers. Data now show an anomalous area near Vesta's south pole, suggesting denser material from a lower layer of Vesta has been exposed by the impact that created a feature called the Rheasilvia basin. The lighter, younger layers coating other parts of Vesta's surface have been blasted away in the basin.

Dawn obtained the highest-resolution surface temperature maps of any asteroid visited by a spacecraft. Data reveal temperatures can vary from as warm as minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 degrees Celsius) in the sunniest spots to as cold as minus 150 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 100 degrees Celsius) in the shadows. This is the lowest temperature measurable by Dawn's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer. These findings show the surface responds quickly to illumination with no mitigating effect of an atmosphere.

"After more than nine months at Vesta, Dawn's suite of instruments has enabled us to peel back the layers of mystery that have surrounded this giant asteroid since humankind first saw it as just a bright spot in the night sky," said Carol Raymond, Dawn deputy principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We are closing in on the giant asteroid's secrets."

{...}




NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 12-134 - NASA Dawn Spacecraft Reveals Secrets of Giant Asteroid Vesta

Universe Today: Dawn Reveals More of Vesta’s Secrets
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:17 PM   #100
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The Planetary Society Blog: Dawn Journal: Rising from a happily long LAMO:
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Dawn is wrapping up a spectacularly rewarding phase of its mission of exploration. Since descending to its low-altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) in December, the stalwart probe has circled Vesta about 800 times and collected a truly outstanding trove of precious observations of the protoplanet. Having far exceeded the plans, expectations, and even hopes for what it would accomplish when LAMO began, the ambitious explorer is now ready to begin its ascent. On May 1, atop its familiar blue-green pillar of xenon ions, the craft will embark upon the six-week spiral to its second high-altitude mapping orbit.

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Old 05-07-2012, 08:50 PM   #101
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NASA JPL / NASA:
NASA to Hold News Conference on Dawn Mission Results

May 7, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA will host a news conference on Thursday, May 10, at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) to present a new analysis of the giant asteroid Vesta using data from the agency's Dawn spacecraft.

The event will be held at NASA Headquarters in Washington, broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv .

The event will also be streamed live on Ustream with a moderated chat available at: http://www.ustream.com/nasajpl2 . Questions may also be asked via Twitter using the hashtag #asknasa .


The panelists for the briefing are:
  • Carol Raymond, Dawn deputy principal investigator, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
  • Harry McSween, chair, Dawn surface composition working group, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Vishnu Reddy, Dawn framing camera team member, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, and the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
  • David O’Brien, Dawn participating scientist, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Ariz.
  • Maria Cristina De Sanctis, Dawn co-investigator and visible and infrared mapping spectrometer team lead, Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, Rome

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NASA: MEDIA ADVISORY : M12-082 - NASA to Hold News Conference on Asteroid Mission Results

SPACE.com:
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:47 PM   #102
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Universe Today: The Bright and Dark Side of Vesta’s Craters


Many types of craters are captured in this panorama of recent Dawn images
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:27 PM   #103
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DLR: Vesta – a planet-like asteroid
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:23 PM   #104
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA Dawn Mission Reveals Secrets of Large Asteroid

May 10, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Dawn spacecraft has provided researchers with the first orbital analysis of the giant asteroid Vesta, yielding new insights into its creation and kinship with terrestrial planets and Earth's moon.

Vesta now has been revealed as a special fossil of the early solar system with a more varied, diverse surface than originally thought. Scientists have confirmed a variety of ways in which Vesta more closely resembles a small planet or Earth's moon than another asteroid. Results appear in today's edition of the journal Science.

Dawn's Virtual Flight over Vesta

This video takes viewers on a virtual tour of Vesta's south polar basin, the "snowman" set of craters and a crater called Oppia.

› Virtual flight video


"Dawn's visit to Vesta has confirmed our broad theories of this giant asteroid's history, while helping to fill in details it would have been impossible to know from afar," said Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Dawn's residence at Vesta of nearly a year has made the asteroid's planet-like qualities obvious and shown us our connection to that bright orb in our night sky."

Touring Vesta's Craters

This video takes viewers on a virtual tour of Vesta's south polar basin, the "snowman" set of craters and a crater called Oppia.

› Touring craters


Scientists now see Vesta as a layered, planetary building block with an iron core - the only one known to survive the earliest days of the solar system. The asteroid's geologic complexity can be attributed to a process that separated the asteroid into a crust, mantle and iron core with a radius of approximately 68 miles (110 kilometers) about 4.56 billion years ago. The terrestrial planets and Earth's moon formed in a similar way.

Dawn observed a pattern of minerals exposed by deep gashes created by space rock impacts, which may support the idea the asteroid once had a subsurface magma ocean. A magma ocean occurs when a body undergoes almost complete melting, leading to layered building blocks that can form planets. Other bodies with magma oceans ended up becoming parts of Earth and other planets.

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Mineral Diversity at Vesta's South Pole

This image, made from data obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows the mineral distribution in the southern hemisphere of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/INAF/MPS/DLR/IDA
Vesta in Perspective

The giant asteroid Vesta is shown here as the smallest body among other similar bodies in the solar system: Mars, Mercury, Earth's moon and the dwarf planet Ceres. With Dawn's findings, Vesta is the only intact layered planetary building block with an iron core known to be remaining since the early days of the solar system.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA


Data also confirm a distinct group of meteorites found on Earth did, as theorized, originate from Vesta. The signatures of pyroxene, an iron- and magnesium-rich mineral, in those meteorites match those of rocks on Vesta's surface. These objects account for about 6 percent of all meteorites seen falling on Earth.

This makes the asteroid one of the largest single sources for Earth's meteorites. The finding also marks the first time a spacecraft has been able to visit the source of samples after they were identified on Earth.

Click on images for details
Vesta's Internal Structure

This artist's concept shows the internal structure of the giant asteroid Vesta, based on data from NASA's Dawn mission.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
South Pole Vistas

Scientists with NASA's Dawn mission have created perspective views of the Rheasilvia impact basin on the giant asteroid Vesta. Rheasilvia is located in Vesta's southern hemisphere.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI


Scientists now know Vesta's topography is quite steep and varied. Some craters on Vesta formed on very steep slopes and have nearly vertical sides, with landslides occurring more frequently than expected.

Another unexpected finding was that the asteroid's central peak in the Rheasilvia basin in the southern hemisphere is much higher and wider, relative to its crater size, than the central peaks of craters on bodies like our moon. Vesta also bears similarities to other low-gravity worlds like Saturn's small icy moons, and its surface has light and dark markings that don't match the predictable patterns on Earth's moon.

Click on images for details
Meteorites from Vesta

This image shows three slices of a class of meteorites that fell to Earth that NASA's Dawn mission has confirmed as originating from the giant asteroid Vesta.
Image credit: University of Tennessee
Global Mineral Map of Vesta

This colorized map from NASA's Dawn mission shows the distribution of minerals across the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/INAF/MPS/DLR/IDA


"We know a lot about the moon and we're only coming up to speed now on Vesta," said Vishnu Reddy, a framing camera team member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany and the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. "Comparing the two gives us two storylines for how these fraternal twins evolved in the early solar system."

Dawn has revealed details of ongoing collisions that battered Vesta throughout its history. Dawn scientists now can date the two giant impacts that pounded Vesta's southern hemisphere and created the basin Veneneia approximately 2 billion years ago and the Rheasilvia basin about 1 billion years ago. Rheasilvia is the largest impact basin on Vesta.

Click on images for details
Crater Impacts on Vesta

This graphic shows the global distribution of craters that hit the giant asteroid Vesta, based on data from NASA's Dawn mission.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MPS/DLR/IDA/LSI
Vesta in the Infrared

This global, colorized image of the giant asteroid Vesta from NASA's Dawn mission reveals how the minerals are distributed on the surface.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/INAF


"The large impact basins on the moon are all quite old," said David O'Brien, a Dawn participating scientist from the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz. "The fact that the largest impact on Vesta is so young was surprising."

{...}




NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 12-153 - NASA Dawn Spacecraft Reveals Secrets of Large Asteroid

SPACE.com:
Discovery News: Vesta is a Baby Planet, Not an Asteroid

Florida Today: Giant asteroid Vesta got one-two crater-carving punch

Universe Today: Fly Over Vesta’s Cratered Terrain with Dawn
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Old 05-17-2012, 02:38 PM   #105
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Aviation Week: NASA’s Dawn Uncovers New Secrets About Vesta
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