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September 22, 2011

NASA's Dawn Collects a Bounty of Beauty From Asteroid Vesta

The framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured visualizations of Vesta. These photos are important because they will help scientists determine the process that formed Vesta's features. Vesta is the second largest object in the main asteroid belt. A video is provided of Dawn's view of Vesta at this url: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=1020. Like Earth, Vesta has seasons; it is currently winter on Vesta. In the south pole region there is a massive circular structure that is several hundreds of miles wide. There is one particular mountain in the center of the depression that rises approximately 9 miles high making it one of the "highest elevations of all known bodies with solid surfaces in the solar system." The images were used to determine Vesta's rotational axis as well as a system for latitude and longitude coordinates. Craters will be named after the vestal virgins as well as other famous Roman women and other features will be named for towns and festivals of that era. The insight that Dawn was able to provide on Vesta could be vital in the search for life beyond Earth and habitable environments.

Full Article:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919123446.htm

Video of Vesta:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=1020.

Posted by abrod at September 22, 2011 11:45 AM

Comments

A really good website to get involved in finding yourself is www.planethunters.com this is really great website. I posted an article about two possible exoplanets that were discovered by online user of this project.

Posted by: damiikwe at September 24, 2011 07:39 PM

This is very cool. It will be interesting to see what else we learn about Vesta as we improve our ability to photograph the far reaches of space

Posted by: derbach at September 25, 2011 05:07 PM

It's absolutely amazing to think that an asteroid can have seasons. Just imagine living on an asteroid zooming through our solar system. Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: tmthirty at September 29, 2011 09:54 PM

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