This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows heavily cratered terrain in asteroid Vesta's equatorial region. The craters have a wide range of sizes and many different forms, which include fresh, degraded and barely visible because they are so degraded.

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows heavily cratered terrain in Vesta's equatorial region. The craters have a wide range of sizes and have many different forms, which include fresh, degraded and some that are barely visible because they are so degraded. Generally, it can be assumed that fresh craters are younger than degraded craters and that the barely visible craters are the oldest. A crater roughly 7 kilometer (4 mile) in diameter, offset from the center of the image, has some dark material slumping from its rim towards its center. There are many narrow linear grooves running diagonally across the image. These grooves are less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in width.

This image is located in Vesta's Lucaria Tholus quadrangle and the center of the image is 10.1 degrees north latitude, 94.1 degrees east longitude. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 23, 2011. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 700 kilometers (435 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 70 meters (230 feet) 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. 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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