Science at Vesta

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Mosaic of the surface of asteroid Vesta while in the sun's shadow
This mosaic of the surface of Vesta was made from images obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Feb. 5, 2012, while the area was entirely in the sun's shadow.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/ IDA/JHUAPL
  South pole of giant asteroid Vesta
The south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta, as imaged by the framing camera on NASA's Dawn spacecraft in September 2011.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/
UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
  Global map of average surface temperature of asteroid Vesta
As this global map of average surface temperature shows, the warmer equatorial zone of the giant asteroid Vesta is likely too warm to sustain water ice below the surface.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/UMBC
  Map of average surface temperature around the asteroid Vesta's south pole
New modeling shows that, under present conditions, Vesta's polar regions are cold enough (less than about 145 kelvins) to sustain water ice for billions of years, as this map of average surface temperature around the asteroid's south pole indicates.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/UMBC
       
South polar area of asteroid Vesta
This image, one of the first obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in its low altitude mapping orbit, shows an area within the Rheasilvia basin in the south polar area of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDAA
  Part of one of the troughs at the equator of asteroid Vesta
This image, one of the first obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in its low altitude mapping orbit, shows a part of one of the troughs at the equator of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
  Rim of a fresh crater on asteroid Vesta
This image, one of the first obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in its low altitude mapping orbit, shows part of the rim of a fresh crater on the giant asteroid Vesta.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
  Buried craters within the equatorial trough region of asteroid Vesta
This image, one of the first obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in its low altitude mapping orbit, shows many buried craters located within the equatorial trough region of the giant asteroid Vesta.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
     
Vesta images representing three phases of its campaign since arriving at Vesta
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has spiraled closer and closer to the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. These images were obtained by Dawn's framing camera in the three phases of its campaign since arriving at Vesta in mid-2011.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
  Rainbow-Colored Palette
This image using color data obtained by the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows Vesta's southern hemisphere in color, centered on the Rheasilvia formation.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
  Asteroid Vesta
GSA Panel Presentation - Debra Buczkowski 1
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA 
  Asteroid Vesta
GSA Panel Presentation - Debra Buczkowski 2
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA 
     
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