Giant Asteroid Vesta Has Mountain Larger Than Anything on Earth
by Space.com staff
A NASA spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Vesta is revealing new details about the huge space rock’s surface, including a massive mountain that rises taller than Mt. Everest on Earth.
NASA’s Dawn probe has been circling Vesta since mid-July, when it arrived in the asteroid belt that orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. So far, Dawn has beamed back surprising views of Vesta that revealed an enormous mountain in the asteroid’s southern hemisphere and show that its crater surface is incredibly diverse place.
“We are learning many amazing things about Vesta, which we call the smallest terrestrial planet,” Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission, said in a statement. “Like Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury, Vesta has ancient basaltic lava flows on the surface and a large iron core … The south polar mountain is larger than the big island of Hawaii, the largest mountain on Earth, as measured from the ocean floor. It is almost as high as the highest mountain in the solar system, the shield volcano Olympus Mons on Mars.”…
(read more: Space.com) (image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA