Monday, July 18, 2011

Dawn Spacecraft Snaps Close-up Image of Asteroid Vesta

Latest Image of Vesta Captured by Dawn on July 17, 2011.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on July 17, 2011. It was taken from a distance of about 9,500 miles (15,000 kilometers) away from the protoplanet Vesta. Each pixel in the image corresponds to roughly 0.88 miles (1.4 kilometers).
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Dawn Spacecraft Snaps Close-up Image of Asteroid Vesta

July 18, 2011: NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned the first close-up image after beginning its orbit around the giant asteroid Vesta. On Friday, July 15, Dawn became the first probe to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The image taken for navigation purposes shows Vesta in greater detail than ever before. When Vesta captured Dawn into its orbit, there were approximately 9,900 miles (16,000 kilometers) between the spacecraft and asteroid. Engineers estimate the orbit capture took place at 10 p.m. PDT Friday, July 15 (1 a.m. EDT Saturday, July 16).

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