This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows numerous grooves (linear depressions) and crater chains, especially in the right hand side of the image of asteroid Vesta.
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Grooves and Crater Chains on Vesta

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows numerous grooves (i.e., linear depressions) and crater chains, especially in the right hand side of the image. These grooves and crater chains are less than 1km wide and have two dominant orientations, which crisscross one another in some areas to form an 'X' pattern. These grooves and crater chains were probably formed by impacts of material which originated in impacts outside of the region in this image. The grooves likely formed by material scouring across Vesta's surface, leaving a linear depression. The crater chains likely formed due to secondary impacts, when material thrown out of previous impacts re-impacted Vesta. These grooves and crater chains lie on top of a smooth layer of ejecta blanket, which probably originates from the large crater in the left side of the image. Another narrow crater chain is seen extending from the inner wall of this crater to its base.

This image is in Vesta's Oppia quadrangle and the center latitude and longitude of the image is 18.5°N, 299.4°E. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on October 22nd 2011. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 666 km and the image has a resolution of about 62 meters per pixel. This image was acquired during the HAMO (High Altitude Mapping Orbit) phase of the mission.

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. Dawn's VIR was provided by ASI, the Italian Space Agency and is managed by INAF, Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics, in collaboration with Selex Galileo, where it was built.

More information about Dawn is online at http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.

Image details

ID#:
PIA15046

Date added:
2011-11-12

Target:
Asteroid

Mission:
Dawn

Spacecraft:
Dawn

Instruments:
Framing Camera

Rating:



Views:
3,239

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA15046.tif (1.05 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA15046.jpg (0.24 MB)

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