First 3D Image of Asteroid Vesta, Captured by NASA's Dawn Spacecraft

Illustration for article titled First 3D Image of Asteroid Vesta, Captured by NASAs Dawn Spacecraft

If you happen to have some 3D glasses handy, you can get a really nice view of Asteroid Vesta, thanks to this 3D image that NASA uploaded, based on two clear filter images.

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(Read more about Vesta here and here.)

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What the 3D image reveals is that Vesta's had a rough time out there in space. According to NASA:

The anaglyph image shows the rough topography in the south polar area, the large mountain, impact craters, grooves, and steep scarps in three dimensions. The diameter of Vesta is about 330 miles (530 kilometers)

Most of all, this proves that 3D still has some worthwhile uses. Download a super-high-res version at the link. [NASA]

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

I wonder if there is any foreshortening weirdness going on here due to the optics of the Dawn probe. Or maybe a a little CG tuning to enhance the lumpiness for a better 3D experience. I just recall Vesta as being described as more spherical than this. Could be wrong though.

(Later edit: having read a bit about it. Yes, Vesta is that lumpy. It's just on that cusp where gravity is strong enough to pull a body into a sphere.)