[meteorite-list] NASA Releases Tool Enabling Citizen Scientists to Examine Asteroid Vesta

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2015 10:27:01 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201504011727.t31HR1Dq021979_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


NASA Releases Tool Enabling Citizen Scientists to Examine Asteroid Vesta
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
March 31, 2015

NASA has announced the release of Vesta Trek, a free, web-based application
that provides detailed visualizations of Vesta, one of the largest asteroids
in our solar system.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft studied Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012.
Data gathered from multiple instruments aboard Dawn have been compiled
into Vesta Trek's user-friendly set of tools, enabling citizen scientists
and students to study the asteroid's features. The application includes:

-- Interactive maps, including the ability to overlay a growing range
of data sets including topography, mineralogy, abundance of elements and
geology, as well as analysis tools for measuring the diameters, heights
and depths of surface features and more

-- 3-D printer-exportable topography so users can print physical models
of Vesta's surface

-- Standard keyboard gaming controls to maneuver a first-person visualization
of "flying" across the surface of the asteroid

Vesta Trek was developed by NASA's Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project
(LMMP), which provides mission planners, lunar scientists and the public
with analysis and data visualization tools for our moon, spanning multiple
instruments on multiple missions. Vesta Trek represents the first application
of LMMP's capabilities to another world beyond the moon. LMMP-based portals
for other worlds in our Solar System are currently in development.

"There's nothing like seeing something with your own eyes, but these types
of detailed data-visualizations are the next best thing," said Kristen
Erickson, Director, Science Engagement and Partnerships at NASA Headquarters
in Washington. "We're thrilled to release Vesta Trek to the citizen science
community and the public, not only as a scientific tool, but as a portal
to an immersive experience that, just by the nature of it, will allow
a deeper understanding of Vesta and asteroids in general."

NASA's Dawn spacecraft is continuing its exploration in the asteroid belt,
after arriving at the dwarf planet Ceres on March 6. As Dawn conducts
its mapping and measurements of Ceres, LMMP will continue to work closely
with the Dawn mission.

The Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project is managed by NASA's Solar System
Exploration Research Virtual Institute, headquartered at NASA's Ames Research
Center in Moffett Field, California. LMMP's development team is based
at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL also
manages the Dawn mission for NASA. LMMP is funded by and receives direction
from the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate
and the Advanced Exploration Systems program in NASA's Human Exploration
and Operations Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

To explore Vesta Trek, visit:


For more information about the Dawn mission, visit:


To learn more about the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute,


Media Contact

Sharon Lozano
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
sharon.k.lozano at nasa.gov

Elizabeth Landau
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
elizabeth.landau at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Wed 01 Apr 2015 01:27:01 PM PDT

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