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Asteroid Vesta rocked by mighty impacts

The scale of the pummelling Asteroid Vesta has taken through its history is starting to become clear.
Analysis of data returned by the orbiting Dawn spacecraft shows this giant rock took a mighty double beating in its southern polar region.

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New View of Vesta Mountain From NASA's Dawn Mission

A new image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows a mountain three times as high as Mt. Everest, amidst the topography in the south polar region of the giant asteroid Vesta.

pia14869-640.jpg

The peak of Vesta's south pole mountain, seen in the center of the image, rises about 22 kilometres above the average height of the surrounding terrain. Another impressive structure is a large scarp, a cliff with a steep slope, on the right side of this image. The scarp bounds part of the south polar depression, and the Dawn team's scientists believe features around its base are probably the result of landslides.

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Asteroid Vesta Features Massive Mountain Twice the Size of Mount Everest

NASAs Dawn spacecraft, which is currently orbiting the massive asteroid, discovered a mountain that is taller than Mount Everest and almost as tall as the largest volcano in the solar system.
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It now appears that the past four billion years have been quite an interesting time in Vesta's evolution as well. In fact, the asteroid boasts a mountain that Earth cannot match in terms of altitude. A giant peak at the asteroid's south pole, which is currently unnamed, rises roughly 20 kilometres from its base to its summit, about twice the height of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the tallest mountain - from its base on the ocean floor to its peak - on Earth.
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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has approved new names for fourteen craters and one mountain (tholus) on Vesta.

The names of the craters are derived from the 'History of the Vestal Virgins of Rome', by T. Cato Worsfold, 1997.

Bellicia for a 34-km-wide crater located at 37S, 47E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Caparronia for a 54-km-wide crater located at 36S, 167E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Claudia for a 0.7-km-wide crater located at -1.6S, 356E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Domitia for a 25-km-wide crater located at 37S, 188E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Floronia for a 20-km-wide crater located at 36S, 304E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Gegania for a 44-km-wide crater located at 4S, 61E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Marcia for a 58-km-wide crater located at 10S, 190E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Numisia for a 30-km-wide crater located at -7S, 247E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Oppia for a 34-km-wide crater located at -8S, 309E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Pinaria for a 37-km-wide crater located at -29S, 32E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Rheasilvia for a 500-km-wide crater located at -75S, 301E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Sextilia for a 20-km-wide crater located at -39S, 146E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Tuccia for a 12-km-wide crater located at -40S, 197E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Urbinia for a 24-km-wide crater located at -30S, 276E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman vestal virgin.

Lucaria Tholus for a 22-km-wide domed mountain located at -13S, 104E.
The feature was named in honour of a Roman festival held on the 19th July.



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The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta

vestasouthpole_dawn_900.jpg
Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS, DLR, IDA

A close inspection of the 260-meter resolution image shows not only hills and craters and cliffs and more craters, but ragged circular features that cover most of the lower right of the 500-kilometer sized object.

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NASA's Dawn Collects a Bounty of Beauty from Vesta

A new video from NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes us on a flyover journey above the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta.
The data obtained by Dawn's framing camera, used to produce the visualizations, will help scientists determine the processes that formed Vesta's striking features. It will also help Dawn mission fans all over the world visualise this mysterious world, which is the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt.

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Dark material on the peaks

This clear filter image was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on August 18, 2011. The image resolution is about 260 metres per pixel.

vesta180811.jpg
Expand (268kb, 1024 x 1024)
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA



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Bright and dark material on Vesta's surface
Densely Cratered Terrain Near the Terminator
August 16, 2011
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 6, 2011. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/
UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Bright and dark material on Vesta's surface
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 6, 2011. This image was taken through the framing camera's clear filter aboard the spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/
UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Cratered terrain on surface of asteroid Vesta
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 6, 2011. This image was taken through the framing camera's clear filter aboard the spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/
UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Download
Old and heavily cratered terrain on Vesta
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 6, 2011. This image was taken through the framing camera's clear filter aboard the spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/
UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Two large young craters on surface of asteroid Vesta
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 6, 2011. This image was taken through the framing camera's clear filter aboard the spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/
UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA


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Astronomers keen to look into strange hole on second-largest asteroid.

Planetary scientists thought they knew what to expect when NASA's Dawn spacecraft returned the first close-up portrait of the giant asteroid Vesta last month. Fuzzy images from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) taken in 1996 seemed to show that something had taken a big bite out of the asteroid's south polar region.
The crater was posited as the source of Vesta-like fragments that populate the asteroid belt, and of a surprisingly large fraction of the meteorites found on Earth.

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