Between July 2011 and September 2012, the Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt. Now you can explore all the data it collected in a tidy app called Trek that includes interactive maps, 3D-printable topography maps, and a video-game style interface to "fly" over the terrain.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Dawn Spacecraft has been beaming back spectacular pictures of Ceres – a world, discovered more than a century before Pluto, about which we know very little. This is the story of its discovery, and humanity's impending visit to one of the last unexplored planetary bodies in the…
After 14 months at Vesta, the Dawn spacecraft swung around for its second mission target: Ceres. After a rogue cosmic ray jumbling the best laid plans in September, the spacecraft is in its approach phase to slip into orbit around Ceres on March 6, 2015 just a half-day behind schedule.
Appearing in the December issue of the journal Icarus, this beautiful geologic map of big ol' asteroid/minor-planet Vesta was created by a team led by planetary scientist David Williams, from data collected by NASA's Dawn spacecraft during its 15-month orbit of the oblong object between 2011 and 2012.
Giant asteroid Vesta is the second-biggest object in our solar system's asteroid belt, and the origin of an estimated 5% of Earth's meteorites. Yesterday, an especially rare chunk of Vesta recovered from the Netherlands in 1925 was reported stolen from the Sonnenborgh Museum and Observatory in Utrecht, Netherlands.
The Curiosity Rover has taken up a new hobby: astrophotography. Not content to merely photograph cool Martian rocks, the rover has captured the first image of an asteroid as seen from the surface of Mars. Nicely done, Curiosity!
For years, scientists have been calling Vesta an asteroid. Granted, it's a big asteroid — at 330 miles across, it's the second biggest in the solar system — but NASA's Dawn spacecraft recently got its closest look at Vesta yet, and according to Dawn's principle investigator Christopher Russel, astronomers have been…
Giant asteroid Vesta is so enormous, many astronomers don't even refer to it as an asteroid, preferring to call the celestial body a "protoplanet." This image, which compares Vesta to eight other asteroids that we've sent spacecraft to investigate, helps illustrate the reason such a distinction exists.
Of course, much of the color in these images isn't natural, but instead the result of analysis by a polarizing microscope. But thanks to such analysis we know exactly where these space rocks came from: the solar system's weirdest asteroid.
Despite being only about 330 miles across, the asteroid Vesta features some of the biggest cliffs in the entire solar system. This new image from NASA's Dawn probe gives us one of the most striking looks yet at Vesta's cliffs.
The tallest peak in the solar system is Olympus Mons of Mars, three times taller than Mount Everest. But it's not as easy to say what the second tallest mountain is...but it might be found in the unlikeliest of places.
Right now NASA's Dawn spacecraft is 114 million miles from Earth, orbiting thousands of miles above the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. And Dawn's been taking pictures.
Ceres and Vesta are two of the largest asteroids in the Belt, and their power extends far beyond the band of rocks they inhabit between Jupiter and Mars. Astronomers have discovered that these asteroids' gravitational effects introduced "strong chaos" into the Earth's orbit, making it impossible to know the exact…
Vesta is the asteroid belt's second largest object, but figuring out what it is has driven astronomers crazy. Is it an asteroid? A planet, perhaps a protoplanet? Whatever the answer, Vesta might just be the solar system's most important object.