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Oriented gravels on Itokawa near Komaba crater

Oriented gravels on Itokawa near Komaba crater

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JAXA / ISAS / University of Tokyo

Oriented gravels on Itokawa near Komaba crater
This is one of the close-up views of Itokawa taken by Hayabusa during its first descent toward the asteroid on November 12, 2005. The scale of the full-size image is 1.6 centimeters per pixel. The cobbles in this image are clearly "imbricated," oriented and stacked on each other in a direction that indicates that the gravels have moved in a direction from left to right. This is the same direction as local downhill, moving toward the local low of Muses Sea.

Here is a context view.

Smooth and rough areas on Itokawa

JAXA

Smooth and rough areas on Itokawa
Hayabusa captured this view of Itokawa as it slowly approached the asteroid on November 9, 2005. The scale of the full-size image is 6 centimeters per pixel. The smooth area to the right is Muses Sea, where the spacecraft would eventually make its touchdown. On the left edge is a circular impact crater called Komaba. Scientists measured the orientation of gravels in this image and found that the gravels had a preferred orientation indicating that they have moved over time toward Muses Sea, probably as a result of impact-induced vibrations. The white box indicates the area covered in a closer view.

JAXA images may be reused for educational or informational purposes, with restrictions. Visit JAXA's website for more information on their image use policy.

Original image data dated on or about November 12, 2005

Explore related images: Hayabusa (MUSES-C), asteroid 25143 Itokawa, pretty pictures, asteroids

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