Asteroid Pallas’ violent history uncovered in new pictures

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A gigantic, intensely cratered asteroid known as Pallas has a violent history, researchers uncovered in a new investigation.

Pallas, which is the third biggest object in the asteroid belt and named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, can be seen in detailed pictures published Monday in a study in Nature Astronomy.

Specialists believe that the asteroid’s pockmarked surface is an aftereffect of its one of a kind orbit. Pallas has a tilted orbit, so it is essentially smashing through the asteroid belt at an angle, not at all like most other comparable objects.

“Pallas’ orbit implies very high-velocity impacts,” MichaĆ«l Marsset, the paper’s lead author and a postdoctoral student in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, told MIT News. “From these images, we can now say that Pallas is the most cratered object that we know of in the asteroid belt. It’s like discovering a new world.”

The astronomers got 11 series of pictures, observing Pallas from various angles as it rotated. Subsequent to pulling the pictures, the analysts created a three-dimensional reconstruction of the shape of the asteroid, in addition to a crater map of its poles.

Thirty-six craters bigger than 30 kilometers in diameter were distinguished from the study notes.

The asteroid’s craters appear to cover at least 10 percent of its surface, which the analysts state in their paper is “suggestive of a violent collisional history.”

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