New Geologic Map Shows the Beauty of the Asteroid Vesta

November 18, 2014 9:26 PM

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For 15 months between 2011 and 2012, the Dawn spacecraft orbited the asteroid called Vesta, snapping high-resolution pictures of the cratered, potato-shaped rock. Scientists then spent another two and a half years poring over the images and piecing together the geology written on Vesta’s surface. Now, a team led by planetary scientist David Williams of Arizona State University has compiled that information together into this beautiful map, which they’ve published online for the December issue of the journal Icarus.

Vesta was forged within the cloud of dust and debris that formed the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago. During its lifetime, Vesta was pelted with smaller asteroids and rocks, which left a multitude of craters. But according to the researchers, there were three impacts in particular that shap...

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