385446 01: FILE PHOTO: An image mosaic of the asteroid Eros, with sunlight coming from the northeast, taken by the robotic NEAR Shoemaker space probe March 3, 2000 from a distance of 204 kilometers, or 127 miles. After a year of circling and taking pictures, NEAR will touch down on asteroid Eros February 12, 2001, to capture surface details, which will be the first time any craft has tried to land on a tumbling space rock. (Photo Courtesy of NASA/Newsmakers)
NEAR captured this photo of asteroid 253 Mathilde on June 27, 1997; Mathilde was the target of a flyby encounter nearly three years before the mission went on to orbit asteroid 433 Eros. This image has been artificially colorized to match its likely appearance to a human observer. As a C-type asteroid, Mathilde is very dark, darker than asphalt. It is 59 by 47 kilometers in diameter. Credit: NASA / JHUAPL / Cornell / colorized image by Daniel MachÃ¡Äek
This picture shows the asteroids Ida (left) and Gaspra (right) to the same scale. These images were taken by the Galileo spacecraft while enroute to Jupiter. Gaspra was imaged on October 29, 1991 at a range of 3,300 miles (5,300 km). Ida was imaged on August 28, 1993 from a range of 1,900 to 2,400 miles (3,000 to 3,800 km). Both objects are irregular in shape. Gaspra is about 10.5 miles long (17 km), and Ida is 18.6 miles long and 6 to 8 miles wide (9.3 x 12.7 x 29.9 km). These asteroids are just two of the billions of such rocky and metallic objects that orbit the sun mainly between Mars and Jupiter. A small percentage orbit near the other planets. The irregular shapes of these objects suggests that they are "chips" derived from larger bodies by catastrophic collisions between asteroids. The surface of Ida and Gaspra are peppered by small craters, evidence of much smaller collisions. Craters are more abundant on Ida, thereby suggesting that it formed earlier than Gaspra. Both asteroids have linear depressions over a thousand feet wide in places and a hundred feet or so deep; these depressions may be where loose fragmental soil (the "regolith") has partly drained into fractures. These asteroids show evidence of having such a fragmental layer, which on Ida may be 165 to 330 feet (50 to 100 m deep). The fragmental debris layers on asteroids may one day prove invaluable to space miners, who may obtain asteroids everything from precious metals for use on Earth to water destined for use in space. Asteroids are also important to life on Earth because sometimes their orbits wander across Earth's and collisions ensue. About 2,000 asteroids larger than 0.6 miles across presently have orbits that cross or come close to Earth's orbit. Impacts with objects as large as Gaspra and Ida are very rare, but they have occurred in the past and are capable of causing mass extinctions of almost everything that lives on our planet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS View Original Image Visit the NASA APPEL website.
Asteroid Bennu is a time capsule, containing the raw ingredients of the solar system. Bennu has settled in a near-Earth orbit. Today, a NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is going to retrieve a sample to learn more about our Solar Systemâs history. OSIRIRS-REx is a NASA sample return mission to visit Asteroid Bennu. We plan to grab a piece of Bennu, because itâs a time capsule that can tell us about the origins of our planet and our entire solar system. Watch the full video: youtu.be/gtUgarROs08 Learn more about NASAâs OSIRIS-REx mission and the making of Bennuâs Journey: www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/bennus-journey/ More information on the OSIRIS-REx mission is available at: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/osiris-rex/index.html www.asteroidmission.org NASA image use policy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASAâs mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASAâs accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agencyâs mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram
Credit: NASA / JPL / Daniel MachÃ¡Äek