New image from NASA asteroid mission
The first close-up image of a main-belt asteroid reveals a rocky world that sports a cratered surface, parallel grooves and jagged ridges. The photograph of Vesta was taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which slipped into orbit around the second largest main-belt asteroid early in the morning of July 16 EDT.
Among other tasks, Dawn will spend a year helping astronomers precisely measure the asteroid’s mass and gravity, look for minimoons and make detailed maps from less than 200 kilometers above the pockmarked chunk of rock. Scientists think Vesta has one of the oldest remaining primordial surfaces in the solar system, and hope that its 4.5 billion-year-