Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Asteroid Mapping

In 2011 the DAWN spacecraft visited Vesta to collect data about this important asteroid. You can now explore Vesta yourself using NASA's Digital Model of Asteroid Vesta.

Vesta is one of the largest asteroids in the asteroid belt, with a mean diameter of 525 kilometres. The Digital Model of Asteroid Vesta allows you to view the asteroid as a 2d or 3d map. The map itself seems to combine a Esri map with a Cesium WebGL globe.

The 3d map includes a number of data overlays which provide different views of the mineral make-up of Vesta. The 2d map view includes a global (equirectangular) view of Vesta, a north pole view and a south pole view. It also includes a number of tools which allow you to measure distance on Vesta and to view elevation profiles (especially handy if you want to visualize the depth of Vesta's craters).

It is also worth noting that the map's labels are also interactive. If you click on a map label you can learn more about the labelled feature and the name's etymology.
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