PIA17467: Asteroid or Mini-Planet? Hubble Maps the Ancient Surface of Vesta
Target Name: Vesta
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument: Wide Field Planetary Camera 2
Product Size: 800 x 525 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Space Telescope Science Institute
Full-Res TIFF: PIA17467.tif (420.6 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA17467.jpg (27.13 kB)

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This is a NASA Hubble Space Telescope series of 24 images showing the full 5.34-hour rotation of the 325-mile diameter (525 kilometer) asteroid Vesta.

Hubble resolves features as small as 50 miles across, allowing astronomers to map Vesta's geologically diverse terrain. The surface is a complex record of Vesta's four billion-year history. Features include ancient lava flows, and a gigantic impact basin that is so deep, it exposes the asteroid's subsurface, or mantle.

This sequence was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 between November 28 and December 1, 1994, when Vesta was at a distance of 156 million miles from Earth.

When combined with ground-based data, astronomers will be able to make the first geochemical map of Vesta's surface.

More information about asteroid Vesta is online at http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.

Image Credit:
NASA/STScI/Georgia Southern University

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