Video of Vesta in Dawn spacecraft fly-around

NASA space scientists studying asteroid Vesta helped make this video simulating the experience of flying in the Dawn spacecraft around the asteroid. Nice!

Check out this new NASA video. It’s as if you’re piloting the Dawn spacecraft – which has been orbiting the large asteroid Vesta since July 2011 and will study this mysterious world until July 2012 – in a simulated fly-around of the asteroid. You are there!

Notice in the video that Vesta is not entirely lit up. Like all bodies in our solar system, Vesta gets its light from our sun. There’s no light in the high northern latitudes of Vesta now, where it’s currently winter. As on Earth, when it’s northern winter on Vesta, the northern polar region is in perpetual darkness. Meanwhile, as we view Vesta’s rotation from above the south pole, half is in darkness simply because half of Vesta is in daylight and half is in the darkness of night.

Read more from NASA

First Dawn image from orbit around Vesta

Asteroid Vesta at opposition on August 5, 2011

Deborah Byrd