25 Dec '11, 1pm

Dawn at Vesta: Vesta is the second-most-massive asteroid after the dwarf planet Ceres,and comprises an estimated...

Dawn at Vesta: Vesta is the second-most-massive asteroid after the dwarf planet Ceres,and comprises an estimated...

Vesta is the second-most-massive asteroid after the dwarf planet Ceres,and comprises an estimated 9% of the mass of the asteroid belt. Vesta is thought to be a remnant protoplanet with a differentiated interior. It lost some 1% of its mass less than a billion years ago in a collision that left an enormous crater occupying much of its southern hemisphere. NASA's Dawn spacecraft has sent back the first images of the giant asteroid Vesta from its low-altitude mapping orbit. The images, obtained by the framing camera, show the stippled and lumpy surface in detail never seen before, piquing the curiosity of scientists who are studying Vesta for clues about the solar system's early history. The surface shows abundant small craters, and textures such as small grooves and lineaments that are reminiscent of the structures seen in low-resolution data from the higher-altitude orbits....

Full article: http://www.enn.com/enn_original_news/article/43770

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