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The mysterious dark streaks on Vesta

dark material on Vesta

In a preprint paper published today at the Los Alamos astro-ph website, scientists have taken a detailed look at the mysterious dark streaks seen by Dawn on the surface of the asteroid Vesta and have concluded that the material comes from impacts, not from volcanic activity.

The scientists also concluded that

the majority of the spectra of [dark material] are similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites mixed with materials indigenous to Vesta.

Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites are considered to be the most primeval material in the solar system. This means that Vesta has the potential to give scientists a convenient laboratory for studying that primeval material and the early formation of the solar system. Ideally, the best way to do this would of course be to go there.

The scientists also theorize that much of this material was brought to Vesta by a single large impact.
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