Vesta in Perspective
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May 10, 2012 - PASADENA, Calif. -- The giant asteroid Vesta is shown here as the smallest body among other similar bodies in the solar system: Mars, Mercury, Earth's moon and the dwarf planet Ceres. With Dawn's findings, Vesta is the only intact layered planetary building block with an iron core known to be remaining since the early days of the solar system. This makes it more like terrestrial planets and Earth's moon than other asteroids.
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 were 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: http://www.nasa.gov/dawn.