This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows many large subdued craters that have smaller, younger craters on top of them. There are two large subdued craters in the center of the image, which have very degraded and rounded rims. The smaller, fresher craters are scattered across the image and have much sharper, fresher rims. There are also many lines of craters running diagonally across the images. These lines of craters, often called crater chains, are composed of craters that are less than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter. But the chains commonly extend for greater than 5 kilometers (3 miles). Images like this one highlight the great range of preservation states of craters on Vesta, from rather fresh to very degraded.
This image is located in Vesta's Lucaria Tholus quadrangle, a few degrees south of the vestan equator. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Jan. 22, 2012. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 272 kilometers (169 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 25 meters (82 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the LAMO (low-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the mission.
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 D.C. 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.
More information about the Dawn mission is online at http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.