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Asteroid-meteorite links: the Vesta conundrum(s)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2006

C. M. Pieters
Affiliation:
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912 USA
R. P. Binzel
Affiliation:
Department of Earth, Atmosphere, Planetary Science, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
D. Bogard
Affiliation:
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058 USA
T. Hiroi
Affiliation:
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912 USA
D.W. Mittlefehldt
Affiliation:
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058 USA
L. Nyquist
Affiliation:
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058 USA
A. Rivkin
Affiliation:
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA
H. Takeda
Affiliation:
Chiba Institute of Technology, Tsudanuma, Narashino City, Chiba 275, Japan
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Abstract

Although a direct link between the HED meteorites and the asteroid 4 Vesta is generally acknowledged, several issues continue to be actively examined that tie Vesta to early processes in the solar system. Vesta is no longer the only basaltic asteroid in the Main belt. In addition to the Vestoids of the Vesta family, the small asteroid Magnya is basaltic but appears to be unrelated to Vesta. Similarly, diversity now identified in the collection of basaltic meteorites requires more than one basaltic parent body, consistent with the abundance of differentiated parent bodies implied by iron meteorites. The timing of the formation of the Vestoids (and presumably the large crater at the south pole of Vesta) is unresolved. Peaks in Ar-Ar dates of eucrites suggest this impact event could be related to a possible late heavy bombardment at least 3.5 Gyr ago. On the other hand, the optically fresh appearance of both Vesta and the Vestoids requires either a relatively recent resurfacing event or that their surfaces do not weather in the same manner thought to occur on other asteroids such as the ordinary chondrite parent body. Diversity across the surface of Vesta has been observed with HST and there are hints of compositional variations (possibly involving minor olivine) in near-infrared spectra.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
© 2006 International Astronomical Union

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