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Now’s your big chance to get up close and personal with Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in the solar system.
A new atlas has been released based on 10,000 images from the Dawn mission‘s framing camera instrument, which took the pictures from an average altitude of about 131 miles (210 kilometers). Each map has a scale of 1 centimetre to 2 kilometres (roughly a scale of 0.4 inches : 1.2 miles).
“Creating the atlas has been a painstaking task – each map sheet of this series has used about 400 images,” stated Thomas Roatsch, who is with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research and led the work.
“The atlas shows how extreme the terrain is on such a small body as Vesta. In the south pole projection alone, the Severina crater contours reaches a depth of 18 kilometres [11 miles]; just over 100 kilometres [62 miles] away the mountain peak towers 7 kilometres [4.3 miles] above the … reference level.”
Interested in getting involved in Vesta asteroid mapping yourself? A initiative called AsteroidMappers is open to amateur enthusiasts; check out more details in this past Universe Today story.