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Miniplanet sports megapeak

Solar system’s second tallest mountain hides out on Vesta

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3:49pm, October 4, 2011

NANTES, France — Vesta might be a planetary runt, but it holds bragging rights to one of the solar system’s highest peaks.

Rising 20 kilometers from the floor of an enormous impact basin in the asteroid’s south pole, Vesta’s massif is taller than Hawaii’s Mauna Kea — Earth’s highest mountain when measured from the bottom of the ocean. Vesta’s peak is still smaller than the solar system’s reigning giant, a Martian volcano called Olympus Mons. But then, Vesta is only 530 kilometers in diameter to Mars’ 6,800 kilometers. Scientists haven’t named the protrusion yet, b

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