back to article Secrets of the asteroid belt: Vesta actually more like a planet

New images of the asteroid Vesta captured by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft indicate it’s more like a planet than a dead rock. Different rocks and minerals on the surface of Vesta Different rocks and minerals on the surface of Vesta. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA Vesta is a unique asteroid because of the wide variety of …

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If you could add water and heat

you'd have chicken curry

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Mushroom

I never cared much for the vesta chicken curry, I much preferred the chow mein.

Icon, extra chillies please

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Coat

It has a hole in the middle...

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Coat

It's chewy, its round,

and has a kind of minty-beefy flavour.

Sure is meaty-all-right!

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Distinction?

Small planet, large asteroid...

Is the distinction really valid here?

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That's half the issue here - going from meteorite to rocky planet, there's very little difference other than "size" (and for gas giants, it's just the fact they're massive enough to hold onto Hydrogen/Helium/Volatiles).

Size does determine whether or not you can differentiate into a distinct structure (Core/Mantle/Crust) or are just a pile of assorted rubble. The thing is we don't quite know at what size that happens - hence why Vesta being less rubble-y and more structure-y is a bit of a surprise!

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Unhappy

only if you're pluto

yeah...sad.....

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Devil

Iron core?

Let's get Lakshmi Mittal interested in this baby.

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Boffin

Size

"Or to put it another way, to find out why one of these bodies become an asteroid and the other a dwarf planet?"

Given size is about the only thing that separates Vesta and Ceres (Ceres *is* still an asteroid, just a bloody big one), then it's of no great surprise. It would be stranger if all planets were of uniform size.

The only reason Vesta is an "asteroid" and Ceres is a "dwarf planet" is because we bloody defined them as such.

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It's a DVD!

Vesta is a DVD! Who woulda thunk it? ;-)

It does look quite scratched and dinged though but then being in the Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter it's bound to get hit by other bits and pieces occasionally.

I wonder if it contains the user manual for the solar system?

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Coat

In the beginging...

...was an anti-piracy advert. Unskippable

Then came several un-skippable previews for other solar systems soon to be released.

Then more anti-piracy adverts, also unskippable.

Then a bunch of pointless distributor-sig animations.

Then a menu.

And another couple of pointless distributor-sig animations.

And then there was the solar system.

And it was round.

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Joke

It's been MASTERED...

Now, has it been FIXATED?

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Alert

"The universe never did make sense. I suspect that it was built on a government contract. "

- Robert Heinlein

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Devil

Why an asteroid and not a planet

I thought this was agreed upon: Jupiter's massive tidal forces cleared out/swept up/disturbed much of the material in the asteroid belt and kept really large objects from forming.

Or was this too clean and neat and simple for funding purposes?

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Pint

It always

amaze me to be among the firsts humans to see see other worlds.

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Coat

Astroid, dwarf planet or moon?

The terms are purely arbitrary. A moon is simply a smaller body in orbit around a larger body. A planet is a bit of rock or gas which happens to be of a certain size and roughly spherical. A dwarf planet is just less so. Planets may have or have not undergone heating at some stage resulting in various elements separating out.

If the earths moon append to have its own orbit around the sun say between Earth and Mars would it be classed as a planet or dwarf planet? Its only slightly smaller than Mercury.

Mines the one with Sky at Night - the Rebellion in the pocket.

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Nah!

There's a whole "clears its orbit" clause that would seem to apply here.

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The 198'something magazine, "The Unexplanined"...

had a picture exactly like that of Earth which proved we lived on a doughnut and proved, (in the light of which), subsequent narratives by Ralph Fiennes of his journeys were rubbish.

Mines the one with the chocolate covered bagel fried by the bakery below the Finchley tax office in the early nineties.

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Boffin

Whatever

I would prefer not to be marooned off of it.

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Agreed.

Further, I would prefer not to be marooned on it.

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Anonymous Coward

garden-variety asteroid

No respectable rockery should be without one.

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Pirate

Yes, it's nice over there but wouldn't it look nicer over HERE?

Yes, it's good to learn more but...

Are we any closer to moving the asteroids about? Probably not Vesta 'cos it's too far away and not Ceres on a first try 'cos it's too big but there are metal-rich rocks not too far away from Earth.

How do we go about moving them into Earth orbit, hopefully before the end of this century, where we can chew them up for lots of yummy resources.

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