Asteroid 25143 Itokawa, a rubble pile

Asteroid 25143 Itokawa, a rubble pile

Fig. 12.17 . The small asteroid 25143 Itokawa is just 500 meters long, and it has an orbit that crosses that of the Earth. This image, taken from the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa in late 2005, strongly suggests that the asteroid is a loose pile of rubble rather than a solid rock. The difference between the smooth and rough terrain might be due to impacts that jostled and shook the asteroid, creating a separation of large and small rocks on the surface. (Courtesy of ISAS/JAXA.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University