Giant asteroid Vesta 'resembles Earth'

   Mar 24, 4:01 pm

London, Mar 24 (ANI): The giant asteroid Vesta has many features that are mostly associated with rocky planets like Earth, a new study has revealed.

Vesta has been considered as a massive asteroid, but after studying the surface in detail, scientists are describing it as "transitional".

Since July 2011, the Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting Vesta - one of the Solar System's most primitive objects.

They have recorded several unexpected features on its battered surface.

According to Dawn's principal investigator, Christopher T Russell, the science team found it hard not to refer to the object as a planet.

He asserted that the rounded asteroid showed evidence of geological processes that characterise rocky worlds like Earth and the Moon.

Vesta is the second most massive of the asteroids, measuring nearly 530km (330mi) in diameter.

It is dominated by a huge crater called Rheasilvia and stands a number of other scars left by the hammering it has received at the hands of other asteroid belt denizens.

One vital transitional feature of Vesta can be found in its topography, or elevation.

Vertical elevation on the Moon or Mars might reach tens of kilometres, but these objects are also extremely large.

"This means the topography is about 1 percent of the radius," the BBC quoted Dr Ralf Jaumann, from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), as saying.

"If you go to Vesta, it is 15 percent, and if you go to the largest outer asteroid - Lutetia - it is 40 percent."

In a nutshell, this mathematical relationship between topography and radius (half an object's diameter) puts Vesta in an intermediate position between small asteroids and rocky planets.

Another characteristic concerns the way its surface has been modified, or "processed", by the many collisions.

This is apparent in dark material that can be seen in images of its terrain.

The dark material seems to be associated with impacts and their aftermath.

Scientists are certain there has been volcanism on the asteroid during its history. This is because there are hundreds of pieces of Vesta sitting in museums across the world.

Philae results help understand the nature of comets Jul 31, 1:35 pm
Washington DC, July 31 (ANI): A new analysis of several studies on data sent back Philae has helped the scientists understand the nature of comets better than ever, and may be beneficial for future missions.
Full Story
NASA confirms existence of closest rocky exoplanet Jul 31, 10:07 am
Washington DC, July 31 (ANI): NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has helped confirm the discovery of the closest rocky planet outside our solar system, just 21 light-years away.
Full Story
Globular clusters could be factories of binary black holes Jul 30, 1:03 pm
Washington DC, July 30 (ANI): Astronomers have detected dense star clusters that they claim could be the factories of binary black holes.
Full Story
Space may be brewing its own `Kombucha` tea Jul 30, 11:16 am
Washington DC, July 30 (ANI): While Kombucha, the beverage the ancient Chinese referred to as "Immortal Health Elixir," has been around as a healthy tea for centuries, yeast and bacteria which make it have been found outside of the International Space Station.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY