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Dawn Suggests Special Delivery Of Hydrated Material To Vesta

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The mechanism by which water is incorporated into the terrestrial planets is a matter of extensive debate for planetary scientists. Now, observations of Vesta by NASA’s Dawn mission suggest that hydrous materials were delivered to the giant asteroid mainly through a build-up of small particles during an epoch when the Solar System was rich in dust. This is a radically different process from the way in which hydrous materials are deposited on the moon and may have implications for the formation of terrestrial planets, including the delivery of the water that forms Earth’s oceans.

Maria Cristina De Sanctis, of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Planetology in Rome, said, ‘Vesta’s surface shows distinct areas enriched with hydrated materials. These regions are not dependent on solar illumination or temperature, as we find in the case of the Moon. The uneven distribution is unexpected and indicates ancient processes that differ from those believed to be responsible for delivering water to other airless bodies, like the Moon.’

Full Story: http://www.europlanet-eu.org/outreach/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=387&Itemid=1