This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows two overlapping impact craters on asteroid Vesta. The rims of the craters are both reasonably fresh but the larger crater must be older because the smaller crater cuts across the larger crater's rim.
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Successive Formation of Impact Craters

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows two overlapping impact craters. The large crater is roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter and the smaller crater is roughly 6 kilometers (4 miles) in diameter. The rims of the craters are both reasonably fresh but the larger crater must be older because the smaller crater cuts across the larger crater's rim. As the smaller crater formed it destroyed a part of the rim of the pre-existing, larger crater. The larger crater's interior is more densely cratered than the smaller crater, which also suggests that is it older. In the bottom of the image there is some material slumping from rim of the larger crater towards its center.

This image is located in Vesta's Urbinia quadrangle and the center of the image is 58.0 degrees south latitude, 284.0 degrees east longitude. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Dec. 18, 2011. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 260 kilometers (162 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 22 meters (82 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the LAMO (low-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. 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.

Image details

ID#:
PIA15382

Date added:
2012-02-16

Target:
Vesta

Mission:
Dawn

Spacecraft:
Dawn

Instruments:
Framing Camera

Rating:



Views:
2,039

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA15382.tif (1.05 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA15382.jpg (0.18 MB)

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