This image, one of the first obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in its low altitude mapping orbit, shows an area within the Rheasilvia basin in the south polar area of the giant asteroid Vesta.

This image, one of the first obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in its low altitude mapping orbit, shows an area within the Rheasilvia basin in the south polar area of the giant asteroid Vesta. In this image, a younger, darker blanket of material ejected by an impact is in contact with a brighter, hummocky deposit marked by craters. The brighter material, which appears to be older, also shows crisscrossing, linear features.

The image, taken by Dawn's framing camera, is centered at around minus 78 degrees latitude and 298 degrees longitude. It was obtained on Dec. 13 at an altitude of 127 miles (204 kilometers). The image covers an area about 12 miles by 12 miles (20 kilometers by 20 kilometers).

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. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras have been developed and built under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, with significant contributions by DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The framing camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA/JPL.

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

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