Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, have used the multiwavelength filters on NASA’s Dawn spacecraft to create compositional maps of the surface of the asteroid Vesta, which Dawn visited in 2011 and 2012. Dawn’s framing camera, whose construction was led by the MPI team, uses selected wavelengths of visible and infrared light which they have now used to highlight subtle differences in rock colour, texture and composition, when they in turn present in false-colour images.
Their image of crater Aelia (above) shows that the flows from the 4.3km diameter crater have two distinct parts, possibly a mineralogical difference arising from crater formation.
An image of the crater Antona, a 17km diameter impact crater within the vast Rheasilvia basin in Vesta’s southern hemisphere, has been processed to pick out the iron-rich mineral pyroxene and allows researchers to distinguish between coarser- and finer-grained ejecta. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLAMPS/DLR/IDA)