The 3D video below of the giant asteroid Vesta offers an amazing look at the object. Sort of a guided tour that might have come straight out of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It will look best with 3D glasses, so if you have a pair, put them on, turn down the lights and enjoy the ride.
The video was created by Ralf Jaumann, a member of the Dawn mission team, who used high-resolution images taken by the Dawn Spacecraft from July to August 2011. Along with those fascinating bands around its middle, you’ll see some close-ups of Vesta’s bumpy surface and three craters, which have been dubbed the “Snowman” craters because they form a nearly perfect Snowman shape. (Hopefully one day some astronauts can give it a large hat and scarf.) You’ll also be treated to a virtual tour of a mountain inside of a large crater on the south pole. The peak of the mountain is 16 miles high, over twice the height of Mount Everest.
Twice the size of Mount Everest? Surely this is more planet than asteroid.
At 330 miles across, Vesta is the second-most-massive object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Some consider Vesta to be a protoplanet. Were it not for Jupiter’s gravity, it would have continued to develop into a rocky planet like Earth or Mars. Regardless of its classification, it is a sight to behold.