As the Asteroid Turns

The unveiling of the first full closeup of the asteroid Vesta today.

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Scientists unveiled the first full closeup of the asteroid Vesta today. The picture, stitched together from frames taken by the Dawn spacecraft from a distance of 3,200 miles on July 24, shows mysterious parallel grooves around the asteroid’s middle, which may have formed when Vesta contracted, then expanded after a giant impact early in its history. See more Dawn images here. The movie shows the asteroid rotating over a period of 5.3 hours.