The robotic spacecraft Dawn has now settled into its science orbit around the second-largest asteroid, Vesta. Dawn is now orbiting at a distance of about 2,700 kilometres, some six times closer than when the initial observations were made last month.
This will give scientists a chance to get a closer look at the large, weird crater at Vesta’s south pole, a series of equatorial ridges, and other unexpected features.
The science journal Nature reports that one theory to explain the crater’s unusual characteristics: Vesta completed an entire revolution while the crater was forming. See the full story.