Spectroscopic characterization of mineralogy and its diversity across Vesta.
ABSTRACT The mineralogy of Vesta, based on data obtained by the Dawn spacecraft's visible and infrared spectrometer, is consistent with howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorites. There are considerable regional and local variations across the asteroid: Spectrally distinct regions include the south-polar Rheasilvia basin, which displays a higher diogenitic component, and equatorial regions, which show a higher eucritic component. The lithologic distribution indicates a deeper diogenitic crust, exposed after excavation by the impact that formed Rheasilvia, and an upper eucritic crust. Evidence for mineralogical stratigraphic layering is observed on crater walls and in ejecta. This is broadly consistent with magma-ocean models, but spectral variability highlights local variations, which suggests that the crust can be a complex assemblage of eucritic basalts and pyroxene cumulates. Overall, Vesta mineralogy indicates a complex magmatic evolution that led to a differentiated crust and mantle.
- SourceAvailable from: Maria Cristina De Sanctis[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The Dawn spacecraft targeted 4 Vesta, believed to be a remnant intact protoplanet from the earliest epoch of solar system formation, based on analyses of howardite-eucrite-diogenite (HED) meteorites that indicate a differentiated parent body. Dawn observations reveal a giant basin at Vesta's south pole, whose excavation was sufficient to produce Vesta-family asteroids (Vestoids) and HED meteorites. The spatially resolved mineralogy of the surface reflects the composition of the HED meteorites, confirming the formation of Vesta's crust by melting of a chondritic parent body. Vesta's mass, volume, and gravitational field are consistent with a core having an average radius of 107 to 113 kilometers, indicating sufficient internal melting to segregate iron. Dawn's results confirm predictions that Vesta differentiated and support its identification as the parent body of the HEDs.Science 05/2012; 336(6082):684-6. · 31.20 Impact Factor
Article: Vesta's shape and morphology.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Vesta's surface is characterized by abundant impact craters, some with preserved ejecta blankets, large troughs extending around the equatorial region, enigmatic dark material, and widespread mass wasting, but as yet an absence of volcanic features. Abundant steep slopes indicate that impact-generated surface regolith is underlain by bedrock. Dawn observations confirm the large impact basin (Rheasilvia) at Vesta's south pole and reveal evidence for an earlier, underlying large basin (Veneneia). Vesta's geology displays morphological features characteristic of the Moon and terrestrial planets as well as those of other asteroids, underscoring Vesta's unique role as a transitional solar system body.Science 05/2012; 336(6082):687-90. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Vesta is a large differentiated rocky body in the main asteroid belt that accreted within the first few million years after the formation of the earliest solar system solids. The Dawn spacecraft extensively imaged Vesta's surface, revealing a collision-dominated history. Results show that Vesta's cratering record has a strong north-south dichotomy. Vesta's northern heavily cratered terrains retain much of their earliest history. The southern hemisphere was reset, however, by two major collisions in more recent times. We estimate that the youngest of these impact structures, about 500 kilometers across, formed about 1 billion years ago, in agreement with estimates of Vesta asteroid family age based on dynamical and collisional constraints, supporting the notion that the Vesta asteroid family was formed during this event.Science 05/2012; 336(6082):690-4. · 31.20 Impact Factor