NASA pays a visit to one of the largest asteroids in the solar system.
No one really knew what Vesta looked like until NASA’s Dawn spacecraft decided to drop in on it. Now, images taken by the spacecraft have been stitched together to create a virtual flyover of the jumbo-sized space rock. Vesta is located approximately 100 million miles from Earth in the solar system’s main asteroid belt—home to countless bodies that circle the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Scientists believe the asteroid formed prior to the planets, making it one of the oldest objects in space that’s within our reach. After a four-year journey, Dawn arrived at Vesta in 2011 and spent 14 months mapping its surface. The close-up views shed light on a world filled with mountains, cliffs, valleys and craters. Watch the video for a tour that highlights some of Vesta’s most impressive features.