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Asteroid Vesta Video: World of Color Revealed

Credit: NASA/JPL/DLR

A new video from NASA’s Dawn mission has been issued that shows the giant asteroid Vesta in colorful terms.

This newly issued visualization enables a detailed view of the variation in the material properties of Vesta in the context of its topography.

The colors were chosen to highlight differences in surface composition that are too subtle for the human eye to see.

Scientists are still analyzing what some of the colors mean for the composition of the surface.

But it is clear that the orange material thrown out from some impact craters is different from the surrounding surface material.

Green shows the relative abundance of iron. Parts of the huge impact basin known as Rheasilvia in Vesta’s southern hemisphere, for instance, have areas with less iron than nearby areas.

Many of the images were taken at different viewing angles to provide stereo for use in determining the topography.

What next for Dawn?

The spacecraft is currently spiraling up from its lowest-altitude orbit into its final science orbit, where its average altitude will be about 420 miles (680 kilometers).

Dawn is scheduled to leave Vesta around Aug. 26th.

The spacecraft is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Take a view of this striking visualization at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=1085

By Leonard David

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