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Contributor
Date Range
2014 2016

Asteroids provide fundamental clues to the formation and evolution of planetesimals. Collisional models based on the depletion of the primordial main belt of asteroids predict 10–15 craters >400 km should have formed on Ceres, the largest object between Mars and Jupiter, over the last 4.55 Gyr. Likewise, an extrapolation from the asteroid Vesta would require at least 6–7 such basins. However, Ceres’ surface appears devoid of impact craters >∼280 km. Here, we show a significant depletion of cerean craters down to 100–150 km in diameter. The overall scarcity of recognizable large craters is incompatible with collisional models, even in the ...

Contributors
Marchi, S., Ermakov, A. I., Raymond, C. A., et al.
Created Date
2016-07-26

Deposits of dark material appear on Vesta’s surface as features of relatively low-albedo in the visible wavelength range of Dawn’s camera and spectrometer. Mixed with the regolith and partially excavated by younger impacts, the material is exposed as individual layered outcrops in crater walls or ejecta patches, having been uncovered and broken up by the impact. Dark fans on crater walls and dark deposits on crater floors are the result of gravity-driven mass wasting triggered by steep slopes and impact seismicity. The fact that dark material is mixed with impact ejecta indicates that it has been processed together with the ...

Contributors
Jaumann, R., Nass, A., Otto, K., et al.
Created Date
2014-09-15

We report on a preliminary global geologic map of Vesta, based on data from the Dawn spacecraft’s High-Altitude Mapping Orbit (HAMO) and informed by Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO) data. This map is part of an iterative mapping effort; the geologic map has been refined with each improvement in resolution. Vesta has a heavily-cratered surface, with large craters evident in numerous locations. The south pole is dominated by an impact structure identified before Dawn’s arrival. Two large impact structures have been resolved: the younger, larger Rheasilvia structure, and the older, more degraded Veneneia structure. The surface is also characterized by a ...

Contributors
Yingst, R. A., Mest, S. C., Berman, D. C., et al.
Created Date
2014-11-15

We studied high-resolution images of asteroid Vesta's surface (~70 and 20–25 m/pixel) obtained during the High- and Low-Altitude Mapping Orbits (HAMO, LAMO) of NASA's Dawn mission to assess the formation mechanisms responsible for a variety of lobate, flow-like features observed across the surface. We searched for evidence of volcanic flows, based on prior mathematical modeling and the well-known basaltic nature of Vesta's crust, but no unequivocal morphologic evidence of ancient volcanic activity has thus far been identified. Rather, we find that all lobate, flow-like features on Vesta appear to be related either to impact or erosional processes. Morphologically distinct lobate ...

Contributors
Williams, David, O'Brien, David P., Schenk, Paul M., et al.
Created Date
2014-11-15

We used Dawn spacecraft data to identify and delineate geological units and landforms in the Marcia quadrangle of Vesta as a means to assess the role of the large, relatively young impact craters Marcia (∼63 km diam.) and Calpurnia (∼53 km diam.) and their surrounding ejecta field on the local geology. We also investigated a local topographic high with a dark-rayed crater named Aricia Tholus, and the impact crater Octavia that is surrounded by a distinctive diffuse mantle. Crater counts and stratigraphic relations suggest that Marcia is the youngest large crater on Vesta, in which a putative impact melt on ...

Contributors
Williams, David, Denevi, Brett W., Mittlefehldt, David W., et al.
Created Date
2014-12-01

Vesta is a unique, intermediate class of rocky body in the Solar System, between terrestrial planets and small asteroids, because of its size (average radius of ∼263 km) and differentiation, with a crust, mantle and core. Vesta’s low surface gravity (0.25 m/s[superscript 2]) has led to the continual absence of a protective atmosphere and consequently impact cratering and impact-related processes are prevalent. Previous work has shown that the formation of the Rheasilvia impact basin induced the equatorial Divalia Fossae, whereas the formation of the Veneneia impact basin induced the northern Saturnalia Fossae. Expanding upon this earlier work, we conducted photogeologic ...

Contributors
Scully, Jennifer E. C., Yin, A., Russell, C. T., et al.
Created Date
2014-01-29

We produced two 1:250,000 scale geologic maps of the adjacent quadrangles Av-6 Gegania and Av-7 Lucaria, located in the equatorial region of (4) Vesta (0–144°E, 22°S to 22°N). The mapping is based on clear and color filter images of the Framing Camera (FC) onboard the Dawn spacecraft, which has captured the entire illuminated surface of Vesta with high spatial resolution (up to ∼20 m/pixel), and on a digital terrain model derived from FC imagery. Besides the geologic mapping itself, a secondary purpose of this work is to investigate one of the most prominent morphological features on Vesta, namely the aggregation ...

Contributors
Schaefer, Michael, Nathues, Andreas, Williams, David, et al.
Created Date
2014-12-01

In this paper we present a time-stratigraphic scheme and geologic time scale for the protoplanet Vesta, based on global geologic mapping and other analyses of NASA Dawn spacecraft data, complemented by insights gained from laboratory studies of howardite–eucrite–diogenite (HED) meteorites and geophysical modeling. On the basis of prominent impact structures and their associated deposits, we propose a time scale for Vesta that consists of four geologic time periods: Pre-Veneneian, Veneneian, Rheasilvian, and Marcian. The Pre-Veneneian Period covers the time from the formation of Vesta up to the Veneneia impact event, from 4.6 Ga to >2.1 Ga (using the asteroid flux-derived ...

Contributors
Williams, David, Jaumann, R., McSween, H. Y., et al.
Created Date
2014-12-01

A variety of geologic landforms and features are observed within quadrangle Av-13 Tuccia in the southern hemisphere of Vesta. The quadrangle covers parts of the highland Vestalia Terra as well as the floors of the large Rheasilvia and Veneneia impact basins, which results in a substantial elevation difference of more than 40 km between the northern and the southern portions of the quadrangle. Measurements of crater size–frequency distributions within and surrounding the Rheasilvia basin indicate that gravity-driven mass wasting in the interior of the basin has been important, and that the basin has a more ancient formation age than would ...

Contributors
Kneissl, T., Schmedemann, N., Reddy, V., et al.
Created Date
2014-12-01

The Quadrangles Av-11 and Av-12 on Vesta are located at the northern rim of the giant Rheasilvia south polar impact basin. The primary geologic units in Av-11 and Av-12 include material from the Rheasilvia impact basin formation, smooth material and different types of impact crater structures (such as bimodal craters, dark and bright crater ray material and dark ejecta material). Av-11 and Av-12 exhibit almost the full range of mass wasting features observed on Vesta, such as slump blocks, spur-and-gully morphologies and landslides within craters. Processes of collapse, slope instability and seismically triggered events force material to slump down crater ...

Contributors
Krohn, K., Jaumann, R., Otto, K., et al.
Created Date
2014-12-01