Friday, August 5, 2011

Vesta Turns

The Dawn spacecraft took this series of views of asteroid Vesta. We are fortunate to have meteorite samples of Vesta, blown off in some cataclysm. Vesta rocks show signs of melting, as if born in a volcano. What caused pieces of Vesta to be blown off is a mystery. Scientists have suggested a nearby supernova explosion, but such a catastrophe would have affected other bodies such as Earth.

A minor planet like Vesta could also be home to a tiny Black Hole. This dwarf planet would have formed around the singularity like a pearl around a grain of sand. The Black Hole would be too tiny to swallow Vesta, but the small amount it did eat would make the interior warm. A Black Hole could make Vesta volcanic, even sending some pieces hurtling into Space. Vesta contains tiny clues to the formation of our planet Earth.