Wall and Terrace at Marcia Crater
This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows an interior wall and southern terrace of Marcia crater on Vesta. Relatively smooth material covers much of the terrace and has flowed downslope (toward the top of the image) through channels. This material was likely melted during the impact from a space rock onto the surface of Vesta that formed Marcia crater. The impact appears to have occurred at a high velocity.
This image was obtained by Dawn's framing camera image on Jan. 5, 2012, during the mission's low-altitude mapping orbit (on average 130 miles or 210 kilometers above the surface). Marcia crater is in the northern hemisphere of Vesta and is approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) across. This image covers an area of 150 square miles (380 square kilometers).
The Dawn mission to the asteroids 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. Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. 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 .