A new 3D video of giant asteroid Vesta made by Ralf Jaumann, a member of the Dawn mission team at the German Aerospace Center, provides a virtual look to the asteroid’s topography and complex textures.The video contains high resolution images taken by NASA’s $466-million Dawn spacecraft that was studying the asteroid Vesta since July 15, 2011. Video includes images taken in the period from July to August 2011. It is best viewed with the 3D red-blue glasses and allows for virtual traveling on the surface of the giant asteroid and taking a close look to the world on it. Viewers can fly over the asteroid and see three huge craters on the surface of the asteroid. Scientists have nicknamed those craters “Snowman” because they quite look like a winter figure.
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A virtual tour also allows for a close look to the massive mountain located in the expansive crater at the rock’s South Pole. The central peak of the mountain is 16 miles (25 kilometers) high, which is around twice as high as the mountain Everest on our planet. Vesta asteroid, which is measuring 330 miles (530 km) across, is the second largest object among asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. Since the sizes of asteroid are really huge, many scientists classify it as a protoplanet and say that the asteroid may develop into a rocky planet like Earth or Mars if Jupiter’s gravity had not wreaked havoc in the asteroid belt in the far past. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will remain in the orbit of asteroid Vesta for another year taking images of giant rocks from three different orbits. Then, it is planned that Dawn spacecraft will leave the orbit of Vesta and travel to the Ceres asteroid, which is the largest body (measuring 590 miles (950 km) across) in the main asteroid belt. It is expected that starting February 2015, Dawn spacecraft will be reporting pictures from Ceres asteroid.