Impact Excavation on Asteroid 4 Vesta: Hubble Space Telescope Results

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Science  05 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5331, pp. 1492-1495
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5331.1492

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Hubble Space Telescope images of asteroid 4 Vesta obtained during the favorable 1996 apparition show an impact crater 460 kilometers in diameter near the south pole. Color measurements within the 13-kilometer-deep crater are consistent with excavation deep into a high-calcium pyroxene-rich crust or olivine upper mantle. About 1 percent of Vesta was excavated by the crater formation event, a volume sufficient to account for the family of small Vesta-like asteroids that extends to dynamical source regions for meteorites. This crater may be the site of origin for the howardite, eucrite, and diogenite classes of basaltic achondrite meteorites.

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