It has been a while since we talked about the Vesta asteroid and the NASA Dawn spacecraft that went into orbit around the asteroid. The last time we mentioned the Dawn was back in July when Dawn first started to orbit Vesta. NASA has now offered up some of the best photos of the surface of Vesta that have ever been seen.
Dawn has been inching closer to Vesta since July when it showed up at the asteroid and the spacecraft is now at a distance of only 130 miles from the giant asteroid. NASA calls that position the low-altitude mapping orbit. That orbit was reached on December 12 and images started showing up at mission control on December 13.
The new orbit has returned photos taken with the framing camera that have three times the resolution of the previous position Dawn orbited in. NASA says that the best resolution of the camera is about 75-feet. That will provide images that can resolve grooves, small craters, and surface textures. After Dawn wraps up the Vesta mission it, will head to Ceres and start again.