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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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Science Shot: Dawn Spies a Messed-Up Vesta
1 August 2011 2:54 pm
Two weeks after settling into orbit around Vesta, the ion-propelled Dawn spacecraft is returning stunning images of the 530-kilometer-wide asteroid. And boy is it in rough shape. An image presented today at a NASA press conference is the first whole-asteroid portrait returned from a distance of 5200 kilometers. The broad, relatively smooth expanse covering much of Vesta in this view is part of the 460-kilometer-wide crater blown into the south pole region when the impact of an 80-kilometer asteroid nearly shattered Vesta. Having been created relatively recently in solar system history, this impact basin has accumulated fewer of the smaller craters that roughen the surface to the north (top of image and in this video). More mysteriously, the region in the north is banded by parallel grooves running like lines of latitude around Vesta's equatorial region. Planetary scientists modeling a huge impact on Vesta had warned that rocky debris could pile up in some odd shapes, but nothing like this showed up in their models. Dawn will be dipping to lower and lower altitudes in coming months until it is just 200 kilometers above the surface.
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