This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows old cratered terrain located on asteroid Vesta's equator. Many of these craters have very degraded, rounded rims.

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows old cratered terrain located on Vesta's equator. Many of these craters have very degraded, rounded rims. There is a large crater near the top center of the image, which has such a degraded rim that it is only visible as a shallow depression. There are three smaller, fresher craters located across the rim of this crater. Unlike many areas on Vesta's surface, very few of these craters have any bright or dark material exposed in them. However, there are many grooves crisscrossing many of the craters. These grooves are orientated in two different diagonal directions across the image.

This image is located in Vesta's Numisia quadrangle and the center of the image is 0.4 degrees north latitude, 255.1 degrees east longitude. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 26, 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 and

View all Images