A Whole New World

This is Vesta and it’s a whole new world.

We never saw Vesta in such details before. The best we get before this is an image from Hubble Space Telescope, and it is a blur. Only last month, when a spacecraft called Dawn enters orbit around this second largest asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, do we get a good look at it, and wow!

This asteroid is big (in asteroid sense), roughly 500 km across and clearly it’s not a sphere. That is the reason why it is not qualified as a dwarf planet. The image shows a lot of details such as craters, grooves and dark streaks. Also can be seen is the different distribution of craters on the surface, with more cratering on the upper left (north) and smoother region on the bottom right (south). This mystery and many others to come, will definitely keeps scientist busy for years.

Here is a cool video showing full rotation of Vesta. Clearly visible and a mystery, is the parallel grooves near the equator.

Personally, I’ve quite a feeling on this mission, because I’ll been following it since its launch in 2007 (and even reported on it – on another forum since this blog has not been born yet). After 4 years of sailing in space, it finally reached its destination. Think back, in these 4 years, what have I achieved on Earth?

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~ by thChieh on August 2, 2011.

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