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A search for volcanic and plutonic features on Vesta was an important driver for a geomorphological examination of the asteroid. Another goal was to determine if the asteroid was a protoplanet, one of the remnants of the material that formed the Solar System. Therefore, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft collected imaging, spectroscopic, and elemental abundance data, which were utilized to examine the asteroid’s surface. A digital terrain model was created and the asteroid’s various geomorphic features were analyzed. Large scale features include the Rheasilvia and Veneneia impact basins, the Divalia Fossae and Saturnalia Fossae trough sets, and the Vestalia Terra plateau. Small scale features include deposits of dark material, pitted terrain, pit crater chains, mass-wasting deposits, and impact craters. While these geomorphic analyses revealed no evidence of volcanism, evidence of magmatic activity on Vesta was identified. In addition, analysis of Vesta’s geomorphology suggests that it is not only a protoplanet, but also an intermediate body between asteroids and planets.
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