This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows ejecta from two of the large 'Snowman' craters on the left of the image. This ejecta smooths out asteroid Vesta's surface in the rest of the image.
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Ejecta from Vesta's 'Snowman' Craters

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows ejecta from two of the large "Snowman" craters on the left of the image. This ejecta smooths out Vesta's surface in the rest of the image. When an impact creates a crater lots of small, loose material is commonly thrown out onto the surrounding surface. This small, loose material is called ejecta and is often identified by its distinguishingly smooth appearance. This ejecta only has a few, small, fresh impact craters on its surface and there are no visible older craters buried underneath it. As there are no craters visible underneath it, this ejecta must be reasonably thick. The bumpy texture in the ejecta in the top right of the image is probably caused by movement in the ejecta due to slumping. Near to the "Snowman" craters there are some lumpy structures in the ejecta. These may be larger pieces of debris that were thrown out during the impact which formed the ejecta and the "Snowman" craters.

This image is in Vesta's Domitia quadrangle and the center latitude and longitude of the image is 29.8°N, 203.3°E. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on October 17th 2011. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 702 km and the image has a resolution of about 70 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 and

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Framing Camera



Full-Res TIFF:
PIA15086.tif (1.05 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA15086.jpg (0.13 MB)

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