Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Ejecta distribution after a modeled impact on 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 distribution of impact ejecta following the imapct. Orange shows the pre-impact elevations; reds are higher elevation than before; yellows through purples represent lower elevation than before the impact. There is a clear low center to the impact site but 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.