Mosaic Image of asteroid Vesta

This mosaic of Vesta one of the largest asteroids, with a mean diameter of about 530 kilometres (330 mi), shows the location of the data acquired by VIR (visible and infrared spectrometer) during the HAMO (high-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the Dawn mission.

This image shows Vesta’s southern hemisphere (lower part of the image) and equatorial regions (upper part of the image). NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained these VIR images with its visible and infrared spectrometer in September and October 2011. The distance to the surface of Vesta is around 700 kilometers (435 miles) and the average image resolution is 170 meters per pixel.



Asteroid Vesta

It is clear from this image that the VIR observations are widely distributed across Vesta, which results in a global view of the spectral properties of Vesta’s surface.

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 visible and infrared mapping spectrometer was provided by the Italian Space Agency and is managed by the Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, Rome, in collaboration with Selex Galileo, where it was built.

Image Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/ ASI/ INAF/ IAPS