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News Release 802 of 959

April 19, 1995 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1995-20

Asteroid or Mini-Planet? Hubble Maps the Ancient Surface of Vesta

April 19, 1995: Hubble telescope images of the asteroid Vesta are providing astronomers with a glimpse of the oldest terrain ever seen in the solar system and a peek into a broken-off section of the "mini-planet," which exposes its interior.

Hubble's pictures provide the best view yet of Vesta's complex surface, which has geologic features similar to those of terrestrial worlds such as Earth or Mars. The asteroid's ancient surface, battered by collisions eons ago, allows astronomers to peer below the asteroid's crust and into its past. These images trace the asteroid through a full rotation.

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Credit: B. Zellner (Georgia Southern University) and NASA