Explore an asteroid with ‘Vesta Trek’ | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Explore an asteroid with ‘Vesta Trek’

Tour the surface of the second-largest rock in the asteroid belt

7:00am, May 5, 2015
Mosaic of Vesta

SPACE ROCK  A colossal mountain on the south pole of Vesta, seen in this mosaic of images from the Dawn spacecraft, is one of the locales to explore in Vesta Trek.

Budding interplanetary explorers can satisfy their wanderlust with Vesta Trek, a web-based application that lets users explore the asteroid Vesta.

The app uses data from the Dawn spacecraft, which orbited the asteroid from July 2011 to September 2012. Users can overlay maps of geology, mineralogy and abundances of various elements on the second-largest rock in the asteroid belt. The application also provides data to make a 3-D printed model of the asteroid.

The interface to pan and zoom will be familiar to anyone who has used an online map. Armchair cartographers will find tools to measure distances and elevations of the landscapes. At the south pole, for example, is a roughly 19-kilometer-deep pit at the bottom of which sits a mountain more than twice as high as Mount Everest.

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content