Oriented gravels on Itokawa near Komaba crater
Filed under pretty pictures, asteroids, asteroid 25143 Itokawa, Hayabusa (MUSES-C)
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.
JAXA / ISAS / University of Tokyo
Here is a context view.
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.
Original image data dated on or about November 12, 2005