Bruce Murray Space Image Library

A model impact onto Vesta

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In a paper published in 2011 in Geophysical Research Letters, Martin Jutzi and Eric Asphaug modeled the effects of a 50-kilometer body striking a spherical, rotating asteroid the size of Vesta at an oblique angle. This animation shows the splash of the impact and the motion of the ejecta that spread out from it. Because of Vesta's rotation the ejecta is asymmetric in its distribution, piling up in a steep wall on one side of the asteroid and spreading out in a gradually shallowing deposit on the opposite side.