May 25, 2020

15.10.11: The Strange New World of Vesta.

Vesta’s south pole region as seen from Dawn’s framing camera. (Credit: NASA/JPL).

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft remains the mission that perhaps you’re not following, but should be… since entering orbit around the main belt asteroid 4 Vesta, the plucky ion-propelled spacecraft is returning some fairly mind-blowing images.  The asteroid/proto-planet/insert-current-favorite-definition is becoming a brave new world before our very eyes, the first dwarf planet we’ve orbited and reconnoitered in detail. What are those ridges? What caused intriguing features such as the overlapping crater doublet dubbed “the Snowman?” [Read more...]