Image of the Day –The Strange Beauty of a Monster Asteroidscape


Vesta, whose orbit lies between those of Mars and Jupiter, and the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft, which occurred during a flyby, is considered a protoplanet because it's a large body that almost became a planet.

New images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft map the giant asteroid's varied landscape in incredible detail, closing in on equatorial grooves, a deep depression on the south pole and its colossal mountain. This false-colour image from 2700 kilometres away reveals one of the blows the asteroid's battered terrain suffered. Bright red colouring below the crater indicates matter ejected from Vesta's surface or its impactor.

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


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