facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Impacts on giant asteroid left evidence

Jan. 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM   |   Comments

PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- NASA says a study of images from its Dawn mission has identified remarkable, dark-as-coal material spread across the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta.

Images taken by the Dawn spacecraft's framing camera are helping astronomers understand the impact environment early in Vesta's evolution, the space agency reported Thursday.

The dark material, thought to be rich in carbon, tends to appear around the edges of two giant impact basins in Vesta's southern hemisphere, astronomers said.

Analysis of the Dawn images suggests the dark material was most likely delivered by an object that crashed in Vesta 2 billion-3 billion years ago, creating the older of the two basins known as Veneneia, they said.

Some of those materials were apparently covered up by a later impact that formed the younger basin, Rheasilvia, the said, leaving speckles of the dark material on the rims of smaller craters and their immediate surroundings.

The Dawn spacecraft spent more than a year orbiting Vesta before departing in September 2012 for a journey to the dwarf planet Ceres, expected to arrive there in early 2015.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk
2
Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves
3
Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter
4
Three Mars probes hide behind planet, avoid comet debris Three Mars probes hide behind planet, avoid comet debris
5
Internet trolls in Britain could face serious jail time Internet trolls in Britain could face serious jail time
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback