Exploring the Solar System

Exploring Asteroids and Comets

What discoveries have astronomers made with Dawn?

Thanks to Dawn, astronomers know that Vesta is a dynamic and continually changing body, with a wide variety of geological and chemical processes going on at its surface. One particularly interesting process that astronomers are still carefully examining is the way organic and water-rich compounds are deposited onto Vesta and integrated into its crust, because Earth is likely to have acquired these ingredients for life as we know it in a similar way. Also, a large number of meteorites here on Earth are known to have come originally from Vesta. Thus, understanding this asteroid may give important clues to the early history of our own planet.


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