vesta shapemodel, hamo animThe Dawn team over at NASA has published a simulated flyby of Vesta produced from a topographic model. The model is based on imaging performed during August 2011, when Dawn was in high-altitude mapping orbit.

At the time, Vesta’s north pole was in winter darkness, so the shape model does not quite reach into the northern polar regions.

The animated gif (upper left) does not do this video justice – watch the high def video below to see the unprecedented level of photographic accuracy we now have available to look from the comfort of our own homes… while this giant rock is barreling through space. Pretty amazing.

Embedded video from

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

Credit: NASA / JPL / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA