NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image of the giant asteroid Vesta with its framing camera on July 24, 2011. It was taken from a distance of about 3,200 miles.
Data from a mission to the second largest body in the asteroid belt that's between Mars and Jupiter seems to confirm that Vesta is indeed a protoplanet that dates back to the early days of our solar system.
Space.com reports that scientists theorized that Vesta had started down the path toward becoming a planet and data from the Dawn Mission confirms those suspicions. Space.com reports:
A mosaic of images taken in January 2012 shows Opportunity's vista north (left) and northeast (right), in an outcrop known as "Greeley Haven," where the rover spent its fifth Martian winter. The image released by NASA is presented in "false color," to make differences in the landscape easier to see.
With the darkest days of the Martian winter now over, NASA took its Opportunity Mars Rover for a drive this week. The rover had been stationary while its solar panels lacked enough sunlight to power its batteries.
The rover's drive Tuesday was a short one: "about 12 feet northwest and downhill," according to NASA. The agency says Opportunity has driven 21.4 miles since it landed on Mars in January of 2004.
Head outside at sunset tonight and look up at the sky. If the full moon seems a tad larger than normal to you, that means one of two things: You are exceptionally perceptive, or you were already expecting to be dazzled, after hearing some of the buzz about this year's "supermoon."
It turns out that all full moons are not created equal. That's because the moon's orbit around the Earth isn't a perfect circle — it's an ellipse. And tonight, we're in luck.
A super moon rises above a shopping center in Manchester, Britain, on March 19, 2011.
Credit Jon Super / AP
It won't trigger any catastrophes, according to scientists, but the Moon will orbit to its closest proximity to the Earth on Saturday night. It's called a "super moon": when a full moon reaches perigee near our planet.