The asteroid Vesta is the second most massive object in the asteroid belt of the Solar System. It is also the third in size, with a main diameter of around 530 kilometers. It has an estimated mass of 9 percent of the asteroid belt. Its brightness is very intense, being the only asteroid that can be seen from time to time with the naked eye, as a star of sixth magnitude.
The image illustrating this text was made by Dawn, a spacecraft that was launched by NASA. Its objective is to study large objects in the asteroid belt. The Dawn spacecraft spent more than a year studying Vesta. In the photograph you can see a large mountain at the south pole of the asteroid, whose size would be approximately twice the size of Mount Everest.
The asteroid Vesta lost about 1 percent of its mass after an impact occurred about a billion years ago. A good number of the resulting fragments collided with Earth, which has served to provide abundant information about this asteroid.
Recently, and thanks to data sent by Dawn, traces of water have been discovered in Vesta. The analyzes have shown that in the asteroid there could be flows of material mobilized by water of short duration. The surface of Vesta is very cold, and there is no atmosphere, so the water evaporates on the same surface.
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