Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mystery of bright spots seen on giant asteroid Vesta by orbiting Nasa spacecraft

Scientists analysing the surface of a giant asteroid are puzzling over bright spots that represent some of the purest materials seen so far by a Nasa spacecraft.

Nasa released new images of the asteroid Vesta taken by the orbiting Dawn spacecraft that show some places on the surface twice as bright as others.

Vesta is one of the brightest objects in the solar system and the only asteroid in the so-called main belt between Mars and Jupiter visible to the naked eye from Earth.

The bright material, found mostly around craters, appeared as a result of rocks slamming into the surface and exposing it.

Researchers are still trying to determine what it is made of but believe it is pristine and unchanged from the asteroid's formation some four billion years ago. Read More