Asteroids close up

Asteroids close up

Fig. 2.11a . The Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraft took images of the asteroids 951 Gaspra (left) and 243 Ida (right) on 29 October 1991 and 28 August 1993, respectively. Both objects have irregular, elongated shapes, suggesting numerous past collisions. Gaspra has dimensions of 19 x 12 x 11 kilometers, and it contains a striking abundance of small craters. Ida is almost three times as long as Gaspra, and a small moon, named Dactyl, accompanies Ida, though the tiny satellite is not visible in this image. Ida is a member of the Koronis family of asteroids, presumed fragments left from the breakup of a larger precursor asteroid in a catastrophic collision. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University