OCT 01, 2019 4:46 PM PDT

NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly captivating asteroid in the asteroid belt called Vesta.

The Dawn mission revealed a lot about Vesta, such as its odd shape, which was made possible by its size and impact history. Two particularly massive impacts shaped massive craters on Vesta’s surface, and their details were carefully analyzed in various photographs captured by Dawn during its stay.

The mission painted a detailed picture of Vesta’s past, and scientists now think that the asteroid contains a solid iron core that was once active like those at the center of terrestrial planets today. Moreover, had it not have been impacted twice, it would likely be a round body, and categorized as a dwarf planet under current standards due to its size and characteristics.

Some science suggests that Vesta was well on its way to becoming a full-blown planet in the early solar system, but that progress was stifled by Jupiter, which had a much stronger gravitational influence over all and any surrounding space rocks.

Had it not been for Dawn, we likely wouldn’t know as much about Vesta as we do today. The knowledge acquired from the mission continues to entice scientists today, and some of it even helps planetary scientists better understand other asteroids in the solar system.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
AUG 26, 2020
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
Over the roughly 4.5 billion years of Earth's existence, there have been several periods were biodiversity has been near ...
SEP 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
SEP 17, 2020
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
Scientists have confirmed that the sun is nine months into a new solar cycle, and that this 11-year cycle will resemble ...
OCT 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
OCT 09, 2020
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
Researchers have found evidence of nanojets (bright, thin lights) in the solar atmosphere, also known as the corona. The ...
NOV 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
NOV 02, 2020
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
Astronomers have detected Cyclopropenylidene (C3H2) on Titan, one of Saturn's 53 confirmed moons. While the molecule ...
NOV 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Icy Planet Between Saturn and Uranus Expelled from Solar System
NOV 09, 2020
Icy Planet Between Saturn and Uranus Expelled from Solar System
In mapping the original locations of Saturn and Jupiter in our Solar System, astronomers have found that there was once ...
NOV 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Solar Power Stations in Space Could Answer Global Energy Needs
NOV 22, 2020
Solar Power Stations in Space Could Answer Global Energy Needs
W/hile renewable energy technologies have developed exponentially in recent years, a major barrier towards their adoptio ...
Loading Comments...