Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Oriented gravels on Itokawa near Komaba crater

Oriented gravels on Itokawa near Komaba crater
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 16 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
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

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