Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nasa's Dawn probe sends home stunning close-up images of crater-covered Vesta asteroid - 2nd Aug 2011

The first close-up images of the massive asteroid Vesta have revealed a northern hemisphere littered with craters - including a trio nicknamed 'Snowman' - and a smoother southern half.

Running along the asteroid's equator are deep grooves - a surprise to scientists who did not expect to see such features.

Chief scientist Christopher Russell, of the University of California, Los Angeles, said last night: 'We're seeing quite a varied surface.'

The images were taken by Nasa's Dawn spacecraft, which began orbiting the 330mile-wide rocky body last month and has now started to beam back incredible surface details that the team is only beginning to pore over. Read More