Report

The Violent Collisional History of Asteroid 4 Vesta

Science  11 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6082, pp. 690-694
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218757

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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.

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