Asteroid Vesta

The asteroid Vesta is the third largest body in the asteroid belt (with dimensions of 280 x 270 x 230 kilometer) and one of a few relicts from early times of the solar system.

Video: "Asteroid Vesta from DAWN Framing Camera Data" from 2013 [2:06 min]
Copyright: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/FU Berlin

 

While the first clumps of matter agglomerated gradually to larger planets and moons or broke again as a result of energetic collisions around 4.5 billion years ago, Vesta stagnated at a very early stadium of development. At the asteroid´s South Pole a huge massif with a diameter of about 200 km and a maximum altitude of more than 15 km is visible.

This 3-D model was generated from images taken by the Framing Camera on board Dawn. Since 2007 the space probe Dawn is on its mission to explore the small bodies Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The NASA mission aims at investigating the formation and evolution of these bodies to find clues to the solar system’s early history.

Link to download the full resolution video