Vesta seems more planet than asteroid

Spacecraft explorations reveal a layered, beat-up body

9:09pm, March 22, 2012

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The enormous asteroid Vesta is more like a small, rocky planet than other space rocks wandering around the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Among other planetlike characteristics, Vesta’s interior is probably divided into layers like Earth’s — and scientists have detected traces of an ancient magnetic field.

“We have a hard time working on this body and not thinking about it as a planet,” said UCLA’s Christopher Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn spacecraft that has been buzzing around Vesta since July.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News