This mosaic of three images was taken by NASA's Dawn framing camera during the high-altitude mapping orbit over the giant asteroid Vesta. The images show an impact crater that is about 17 miles (28 kilometers) wide from north to south and about 21 miles (33 kilometers) from west to east, containing an approximately 14- mile (22-kilometer) mass movement deposit in its interior. The eastern rim is higher than the western rim, and the overall topography is downhill from east to west. The relatively undisrupted form of the deposit in the crater suggests that it is a slump rather than a landslide induced by shaking from an impact. Scientists are finding a great number of examples across Vesta of impact craters disturbed by mass wasting deposits. The rugged topography of Vesta combined with its fractured crust from extensive impact cratering makes it surface very conducive to modification by gravity-driven mass movements, even in Vesta's low gravity.
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 have been 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.
For more information about the Dawn mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://www.dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.