A Valentine from Vesta
This image is based on a Dawn FC (framing camera) image that is overlain by a color-coded height representation of topography. The topography is calculated from a set of images that were observed from different viewing directions, which allows stereo reconstruction. The various colors correspond to the height of the area. The white and red areas in the top of the image are the highest areas and the blue, heart-shaped area in the bottom of the image is the lowest area. This heart-shaped hollow is roughly 10 kilometers (6 miles) across at its widest point.
This image is located in Vesta’s Pinaria quadrangle and the center of the image is 36.0 degrees south latitude, 82.3 degrees east longitude. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Dec. 13, 2011. 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. This image is lambert-azimuthal map projected.
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.
Image credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/ MPS/ DLR/ IDA