Between July 2011 and September 2012, the Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt. Now you can explore all the data it collected in a tidy app called Trek that includes interactive maps, 3D-printable topography maps, and a video-game style interface to "fly" over the terrain.

Top image: You want to fly over the surface of Vesta? You can do that. Credit: NASA


Rheasilvia crater on Vesta's South Pole is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) in diameter, with topography highlighted in this false-colour hillshaded digital elevation model. Image credit: NASA

Trek is designed to meet the needs of citizen scientists. Along with data in all sorts of handy formats for easy visualization, the app also includes analysis tools to measure diameters, relief, and more. The maps aren't just limited to topography, either — you can also explore data from Dawn's other science instruments that recorded mineralogy and element abundance, or even the subsequent geological interpretations.


Dawn is currently in orbit around Ceres, although its current location on the dark side of the is-it-a-planet? prevents us from getting any new gorgeous photos at the moment.