NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captured this image of the asteroid Vesta while in orbit on July 18, 2011. The view looks across Vesta’s cratered and heavily-scarred south pole from a distance of about 6,500 miles.
Dawn established orbit at Vesta the morning of July 17, 2011. It will spend a year studying the large protoplanet before moving off toward the even larger asteroid Ceres. It will be the first spacecraft to enter orbit around two separate worlds in our solar system.
Image has been rotated 90º ccw and edited to enhance surface detail. See the original here.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA. Edited by J. Major.