Vesta – The Asteroid that refused to Die

The NASA Dawn spacecraft is now in its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) 210 km above the surface of the asteroid 4 Vesta (image: NASA). The NASA Dawn mission continues to send back breathtaking images of the asteroid 4 Vesta, which it has been studying in detail since July 2011. In mid-December the spacecraft successfully…

Have they got the wrong asteroid?

Image of Vesta’s south polar region showing large central peak that rises 22km above the surrounding terrain (vertical scale 1.5 x horizontal). (image: NASA) As the NASA Dawn spacecraft continues its study of the asteroid Vesta the images being released have become increasingly detailed and breathtaking. It is true that the huge southern crater, with…

When one door closes…..

The Space Shuttle Atlantis lands for the final time at the Kennedy Space Centre, 5.57am EDT on July 21, 2011 (image: NASA) Thirty years of Space Shuttle flights came to an end earlier this month with the safe landing of Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Centre on July 21. The event was widely covered in…

Onions and Asteroids

Asteroid 4 Vesta (right) and an onion (Vesta image: Ben Zellner, Georgia Southern University; Peter Thomas, Cornell University; NASA) If you want to look inside an onion, all you need to do is cut it with a knife. Easy! But, if you want to look inside an asteroid, the problem is not so straightforward. One…