A giant mountain, three times taller than Earth’s highest peak, graces the southern polar region of Vesta, an asteroid that’s the target of a close-up study by NASA’s Dawn science probe. The mountain is pictured in the center of this image.
Dawn went into orbit around Vesta, a large asteroid in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, in July. Scientists plan to discuss more details about the mission on Wednesday as part of the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.
Dawn’s reconnaissance of Vesta is scheduled to end in July 2012. The probe next heads to the king of the Asteroid Belt, Ceres, a dwarf planet.