This Dawn Framing Camera (FC) image of Vesta shows the characteristic undulating surface of Vesta's southern hemisphere and many small craters, some of which make up secondary crater chains. Curvilinear grooves and ridges that run diagonally across the image characterize the undulating surface. Most of the craters in this image are less than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) across. A series of small craters in the bottom right of the image form a secondary crater chain that is roughly 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long. This secondary crater chain was probably formed by material ejected from an impact into Vesta skipping across Vesta's surface and scouring the chain. It is called a secondary crater chain because the material is ejected from a primary impact of material that originated in space.
This image is located in Vesta's Tuccia quadrangle, in Vesta's southern hemisphere. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on March 16, 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 Dawn is online at http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.