These Dawn framing camera (FC) images of Vesta show Laelia crater at both HAMO (high-altitude mapping orbit) and LAMO (low-altitude mapping orbit) resolutions. The left image is the HAMO image and the right image is the LAMO image. Laelia crater is the large crater in the center of the LAMO image. The LAMO image is approximately 3 times better spatial resolution than the HAMO image. In images with higher spatial resolutions smaller objects can be better distinguished. The patches of dark material associated with Laelia crater are visible in the HAMO image but their association with small impact craters becomes clearer in the LAMO image. In the LAMO image there are also tiny patches of bright material visible in Laelia crater and small slumps and bright and dark material visible around its rim. The dark rays of the small crater to the bottom right of Laelia are particularly spectacular in the LAMO image.
These images are located in Vesta's Sextilia quadrangle, in Vesta's southern hemisphere. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained the left image with its framing camera on Oct. 13, 2011. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 700 kilometers (435 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 68 meters (223 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the HAMO (high-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the mission. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained the right image with its framing camera on March 26, 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 21 meters (69 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.