Celebrate the winter holiday season in the company of an ‘Alien Snowman’ on the asteroid Vesta, someone we didn’t even have a clue about until six months ago.

Vesta and the Snowman have been transformed into the beautiful banner above – sent to me courtesy of the Dawn mission team to share with the readers of Universe Today.

Now you can be a creative artist and use the striking new images of Vesta to fashion your own greeting cards (see below) and send seasonal tidings of winter holiday cheer not possible before – all thanks to the remarkably insightful discoveries of Dawn’s international science team.

Vesta Greeting Card created by Joe W - From Dawn website

The Dawn spacecraft orbiting the giant asteroid Vesta is one of NASA’s crowning scientific accomplishments of 2011 because it’s cameras and spectrometers have unveiled a mysteriously diverse world that has no match elsewhere in our solar system.

The more we explore the unknown the more we are enlightened as to just how limited our view of the Universe is from within the narrow confines of our miniscule abode.

Vesta Greeting Card created by Judy C - From Dawn website
Hey, Let's go skiing at the South Pole !

The Kepler Space Telescopes latest discoveries of Earth-sized worlds are just the latest examples guiding us to a clearer understanding of our place in the Universe.

Vesta Greeting Card created by Jillian S - From Dawn website

Here are just a few of the Vestan images you can masterfully decorate – the Snowman, The Mount Everest of Vesta and the cataclysmically bombarded South Pole.

Alien Snowman on Vesta
An impact structure on asteroid Vesta resembling a snowman. Credit: NASA

So, let you imaginations run wild with wintery scenes to match the majesty of this matchless world. The Dawn Education and Public Outreach (EPO) team has created several templates which you can access here

Of course you can also use any of the images posted at the Dawn mission website.

The Mount Everest of Vesta
Image of asteroid Vesta calculated from a shape model, showing a tilted view of the topography of the south polar region. This perspective shows the topography, but removes the overall curvature of Vesta, as if the giant asteroid were flat and not rounded. Credit: NASA
Shattered South Pole of Vesta
This Dawn framing camera image shows scarps, hummocky (eg. wavy/ undulating) terrain and impacts in Vesta's south polar region. Credit: NASA

And feel free to post your inspired creations here at Universe Today.

Vesta is the second most massive object in the main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Dawn arrived in orbit at Vesta in July 2011 for the first ever close up studies of the shattered celestial body. Dawn will spend a year investigating Vesta before spiraling out towards Ceres, the largest asteroid.

Read continuing features about Dawn by Ken Kremer starting here:
Dawn swoops to lowest orbit around Vesta – Unveiling Spectacular Alien World
Rainbow of Colors Reveal Asteroid Vesta as More Like a Planet
Vrooming over Vivid Vestan Vistas in Vibrant 3 D – Video
NASA Planetary Science Trio Honored as ‘Best of What’s New’ in 2011- Curiosity/Dawn/MESSENGER
Dawn Discovers Surprise 2nd Giant South Pole Impact Basin at Strikingly Dichotomous Vesta
Amazing New View of the Mt. Everest of Vesta
Dramatic 3 D Imagery Showcases Vesta’s Pockmarked, Mountainous and Groovy Terrain
Rheasilvia – Super Mysterious South Pole Basin at Vesta
Space Spectacular — Rotation Movies of Vesta
3 D Alien Snowman Graces Vesta
NASA Unveils Thrilling First Full Frame Images of Vesta from Dawn
Dawn Spirals Down Closer to Vesta’s South Pole Impact Basin

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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