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NASA

Dawn Takes First Pictures of Vesta From Orbit 54

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sightings-of-minbari-cruisers-unconfirmed dept.
thebchuckster writes with a photo gallery in International Business Times. From the article "NASA's Dawn, locked in orbit around Vesta, has sent back the first ever close-up image of the asteroid 'So far, the images received to date reveal a complex surface that seems to have preserved some of the earliest events in Vesta's history, as well as logging the onslaught that Vesta has suffered in the intervening eons,' said Dawn principal investigator Christopher Russell."
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Dawn Takes First Pictures of Vesta From Orbit

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  • Actual pictures? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @04:31PM (#36815768)

    Not just "an artist rendering of what Vesta might look like", complete with red background nebula and alien laser installations? Congrats, Slashdot. Even the anaglyph picture in the 4th link is kinda cool, in a seriously retro way. Of course, the linked page has white text in gray boxes in a black background, complemented with color pictures of a gray rock in a way that seems deliberately designed to make my eyes bleed... but I can get over it. Can't believe we finally got an article on space with actual, real pictures. Yay!

    The photos reveal a heavily-cratered gray surface.

    Well, I no one ever said real photos would be terribly interesting to the non-scientist. For those who are interested, however, here [nasa.gov] is NASA's complete archive of Dawn photography.

  • by Iskender (1040286) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @05:02PM (#36816136)

    You people need some patience and perspective. Here's one of the previous state of the art pictures: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Vesta-HST-Color.jpg [wikimedia.org] . And apart from the huge improvement already evident there's the fact that Dawn is supposed to be in orbit for a year. Expecting maximum performance at this point is misguided.

  • by AdmiralAl (1136661) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @05:13PM (#36816266) Homepage
    It's simply because they don't know the exact mass of Vesta, and therefore don't know exactly the gravitational pull of Vesta. After they are better able to determine the mass (and gravity) of Vesta, they will begin to move Dawn into a closer orbit based upon the gravitational pull.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @06:17PM (#36816914)

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/06nov_loworbit/

    The problem is that unless the object is extremely uniform, maintaining the obit at a low altitude will require a lot of fuel to make adjustments. On the Moon, for instance, a typical orbit looks more like a wavering line if you try to keep it along the equator. Obviously the farther out you go the less of a problem this becomes.Though in the Moon's case, to far out and the Earth starts to affect the object.

    P.S. best place to build a rebel outpost ;)

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