Explore the asteroid Vesta using the highest resolution images available. Fly from spacecraft Dawn’s 180 km orbit down to the surface and view surface features such as the “Snowman” and Rheasilvia, which is one of the largest impact craters found in the solar system and which, with a 22 km high central peak, also contains the tallest mountain in the solar system.
VestaTrek is an application built to support both scientists and enthusiasts in exploring the best datasets available from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.
Vesta is the second-most massive body in the asteroid belt. It orbits the Sun at an average distance of 2.34 AU. Dawn entered orbit around this body in July 2011 and orbited for 14 months. The data collected by the framing camera, the visible and infrared spectrometer, and the gamma ray and neutron detector are made available as layers. Users can add multiple layers in either 2D or 3D mode.
Some tools are available to calculate the Sun angles, to measure surface features including terrain elevations, and to generate STLs that can be sent to a 3D printer.
The software is built using Cesium and ArcGIS. We previously built a Lunar data viewer using Adobe Flash. The wide adoption of WebGL, including GPU acceleration, has us porting our applications to this framework. The data servers expose OGC interfaces and are hosted on Amazon’s EC2 network.