Vesta (Vesta) among the celestial bodies of the main asteroid belt of the Solar System takes the first place in its mass and the second in size.
Only Pallas ahead of her in this parameter.
Vesta has many mysteries, most of which have not yet been solved by scientists.
A bit of history
West opened in the distant 1807. This was done by the German astronomer Heinrich Olbers. Subsequently, his colleague and fellow countryman Karl Gauss suggested that the discovered asteroid be named after the ancient Roman goddess Vesta.
The diameter of this asteroid is about 500 km. Scientists came to the conclusion that he was born at the same time with the solar system, that is, he is the same age as the Earth. However, its surface looks like it was just formed yesterday.
West does not affect space weathering. Astrophysicists believe that, perhaps, this asteroid has a magnetic field, which reflects the particles of solar wind and cosmic dust. That's why its surface looks forever young.
Generally, Vesta has enough secrets. It was not for nothing that it aroused great scientific interest. NASA even sent to its orbit a special apparatus in the hope that it can reveal the secrets of this cosmic body. And he could do it.
Geological maps of the asteroid Vesta
A group of scientists managed to create a whole series Geological maps of Vesta. The mapping was assisted by NASA's Dawn Mission spacecraft. He studied the asteroid from June 2011 to September 2012.
Vesta maps have a fairly high resolution, onThey are clearly visible features of the surface of the celestial body in minute detail. They were published in a special issue of the journal Icarus, in addition to them are 11 scientific papers.
Mapping of the asteroid went for 2.5 years. Based on the maps obtained, scientists were able to better see the celestial body and confirm the hypothesis about the formation of Vesta. In this process, several large asteroids actually took part. As a result of collisions with them at different stages of their history, Vesta "earned" several large craters.
After the exploration of Vesta's orbitDawn went to Ceres. The first "guest" of this dwarf planet will be only in 2015. Ceres, like Vesta, is a major object of the main belt of asteroids. Their collision, according to astronomers, is possible with a probability of 0.2% per billion years. If this happens, the Earth is in for chaos.