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Dawn at Vesta: testing the protoplanetary paradigm

Science

By:
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DOI: 10.1126/science.1219381

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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.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Dawn at Vesta: testing the protoplanetary paradigm
Series title:
Science
DOI:
10.1126/science.1219381
Volume
336
Issue:
6082
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
AAAS
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Astrogeology Science Center
Description:
3 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Science
First page:
684
Last page:
686
Other Geospatial:
Vesta