First Glimpse Of Asteroid Vesta From Orbiter

July 19, 2011


Note: Larger version HERE in case you're confused why it's not a scooter. Vesta, NOT Vespa, dummy!

Hey did you know we sent an orbiter to (what else?!) orbit Vesta, a prominent asteroid in the asteroid belt? Me neither, and I like to keep up on space! Also: women's fashion magazines. What? We all have our vices!

Today NASA unveiled the first pictures of the asteroid Vesta as seen from an orbiting spacecraft. The pictures of the not-quite-round, 330-mile-wide (530-kilometer-wide) world were sent across a distance of 117 million miles (188 million kilometers). after the Dawn orbiter's successful weekend rendezvous.

Dawn went into orbit around 1 a.m. ET Saturday, at a distance of about 9,900 miles (16,000 kilometers) from Vesta. The pockmarked space rock ranks as the asteroid belt's No. 1 object in brightness, No. 2 in mass (behind the dwarf planet Ceres) and No. 3 in diameter (behind Ceres and the asteroid Pallas).

Size isn't everything: Scientists are interested in Vesta largely because it's thought to be made of the stuff that dominated the early solar system.

You hear that, ladies?! It said 'size isn't everything' AND THAT'S ACCORDING TO SCIENTISTS. You can't argue with scientific knowledge. Now, I expect hand-written apologies from all former lovers by morning. "HA -- the Geekologie Writer has former lovers. LOL!" Okay now you're just hurting feelings.

First views of Vesta from orbit [msnbc]

Thanks to Mr. Fancy, who lost his monocle and white gloves after getting wasted off 23-year old small-batch bourbon. Next time invite a brother! I mean me -- next time invite me.

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