Asteroid Vesta Full Frame

Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 08:00 am
Asteroid Vesta Full Frame
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS, DLR, IDA

Explanation: Why is the northern half of asteroid Vesta more heavily cratered than the south? No one is yet sure. This unexpected mystery has come to light only in the past few weeks since the robotic Dawn mission became the first spacecraft to orbit the second largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The northern half of Vesta, seen on the upper left of the above image, appears to show some of the densest cratering in the Solar System, while the southern half is unexpectedly smooth.

Also unknown is the origin of grooves that circle the asteroid nears its equator, particularly visible on this Vesta rotation movie, and the nature of dark streaks that delineate some of Vesta's craters, for example the crater just above the the image center.

As Dawn spirals in toward Vesta over the coming months, some answers may emerge, as well as higher resolution and color images. Studying 500-km diameter Vesta is yielding clues about its history and the early years of our Solar System.

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Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 08:13 am
It will be interesting to learn what the Dawn mission finds. I look forward to NASA updates and other science front reports as well, it's been a long time coming and I couldn't be happier about it.
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Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 08:14 am
I've always wondered why they deem the asteroid belt left overs from the accretion disc instead of a possible planet which broke apart or possibly two planetoids that collided breaking them both into these various asteroid chunks.

This concept would also account for all the solar and earth orbiting asteroids as well. Some of them would remain stuck in the belt region while others due to the impact would be captured by other gravitational pulls and flung out into wild orbits. Others would be gobbled up by the other planets and perhaps earth itself was a victim of these fragments.

The event would have to be fairly recent, perhaps a few hundred million to a few billion years. This range would coincide with several large scale impact events on the earth as well.

It just seems strange to me that we have all these relatively clean planets and then this belt of "left overs". It just seems odd that the planets had plenty of time to form and snatch up nearby debris but this one zone continued to stay in small chunks?
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Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 08:19 am
Awww! Vesta has a bellybutton! Smile
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 09:07 am
Do you think Vesta's bellybutton would have lint in it? If not, what would be in it?


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