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Space Mountain Produces Terrestrial Meteorites

When NASA's Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around giant asteroid Vesta in July, scientists fully expected the probe to reveal some surprising sights. But no one expected a 13-mile high mountain, two and a half times higher than Mount Everest, to be one of them.
The existence of this towering peak could solve a longstanding mystery: How did so many pieces of Vesta end up right here on our own planet?

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Dawn Obtains First Low Altitude Images of Vesta

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.
At this detailed resolution, 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. Also, this fine scale highlights small outcrops of bright and dark material.

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Vesta: Asteroid or Dwarf Planet?



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Dark Hill on Asteroid Vesta

This video includes images from NASA's Dawn framing camera instrument.

The hill is about 42.5 kilometres long by about 28 kilometres wide, and appears to be sculpted by impact craters.



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New views of giant asteroid Vesta revealed

New views of the massive asteroid Vesta reveal it is more like a planet than an asteroid, scientists said Monday.
Since slipping into orbit around Vesta in July, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has beamed back stunning images of the second-largest object residing in the asteroid belt.
Vesta's rugged surface is unique compared to the solar system's much smaller and lightweight asteroids. Impact craters dot Vesta's surface along with grooves, troughs and a variety of minerals.

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New NASA Dawn Visuals Show Vesta's 'Colour Palette'

Vesta appears in a splendid rainbow-coloured palette in new images obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The colours, assigned by scientists to show different rock or mineral types, reveal Vesta to be a world of many varied, well-separated layers and ingredients. Vesta is unique among asteroids visited by spacecraft to date in having such wide variation, supporting the notion that it is transitional between the terrestrial planets -- like Earth, Mercury, Mars and Venus -- and its asteroid siblings.
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Dawn

The video begins with a global view of Vesta from the plane of its equator, where a mysterious band of linear ridges and troughs can be seen. The movie cuts to a flyover of young craters in the northern hemisphere, whose peculiar alignment has led some scientists to refer to them as the 'snowman'. Then this virtual tour of Vesta takes the viewer around a massive mountain at the south pole of Vesta that is about 25 kilometers high, or more than twice the height of Mt. Everest.



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Asteroid Vesta
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Dawn Soars Over Asteroid Vesta in 3-D

Glide over the giant asteroid Vesta with NASA's Dawn spacecraft in a new 3-D video. Dawn has been orbiting Vesta since July 15, obtaining high-resolution images of its bumpy, cratered surface and making other scientific measurements.
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A Landslide on Asteroid Vesta

vestaslide_dawn_900.jpg

Asteroid Vesta is home to some of the most impressive cliffs in the Solar System. Pictured above near the image centre is a very deep cliff running about 20 kilometres from top to bottom. The image was taken by the robotic Dawn spacecraft that began orbiting the 500-kilometer space rock earlier this year.
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Title: Chaotic diffusion of the Vesta family induced by close encounters with massive asteroids
Authors: J.-B. Delisle, J. Laskar

We numerically estimate the semi-major axis chaotic diffusion of the Vesta family asteroids induced by close encounters with 11 massive main belt asteroids : (1) Ceres, (2) Pallas, (3) Juno, (4) Vesta, (7) Iris, (10) Hygiea, (15) Eunomia, (19) Fortuna, (324) Bamberga, (532) Herculina, (704) Interamnia. We find that most of the diffusion is due to Ceres and Vesta. By extrapolating our results, we are able to constrain the global effect of close encounters with all the main belt asteroids. A comparison of this drift estimate with the one expected for the Yarkovsky effect shows that for asteroids whose diameter is larger than about 40 km, close encounters dominate the Yarkovsky effect. Overall, our findings confirm the standard scenario for the history of the Vesta family.

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