As the Asteroid Turns

The unveiling of the first full closeup of the asteroid Vesta today.

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Scientists unveiled the first full closeup of the asteroid Vesta today. The picture, stitched together from frames taken by the Dawn spacecraft from a distance of 3,200 miles on July 24, shows mysterious parallel grooves around the asteroid’s middle, which may have formed when Vesta contracted, then expanded after a giant impact early in its history. See more Dawn images here. The movie shows the asteroid rotating over a period of 5.3 hours.

Get out your red-blue 3-D glasses and take a narrated tour of Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the solar system, as viewed by the Dawn spacecraft in the summer of 2011. Video: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
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