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NASA releases asteroid flyby video from Dawn probe

Clanger homeworld boasts Everest-beating space mountain

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NASA has released a new video showing Vesta, giant queen of the asteroid belt, in unprecedented detail.

One of the highlights of the new data, collected by NASA's ion-engine space probe dawn in orbit around the mighty space boulder, is an espceially precipitous region located at the body's south pole.

The space agency explains:

Another distinct feature seen in the video is a massive circular structure in the south pole region. Scientists were particularly eager to see this area close-up, since NASA's Hubble Space Telescope first detected it years ago. The circular structure, or depression, is several hundreds of miles, or kilometers, wide, with cliffs that are also several miles high. One impressive mountain in the center of the depression rises approximately 9 miles (15 kilometers) above the base of this depression, making it one of the highest elevations on all known bodies with solid surfaces in the solar system.

Mount Everest, for example, rises to a mere five-and-a-half miles: though Vesta's polar peak is still dwarfed by Olympus Mons, the colossal Martian supervolcano, generally reckoned to stand 13 miles high.

There more on the new imagery form NASA here. ®

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