Galileo encounter with 951 Gaspra: First pictures of an asteroid

M. J.S. Belton, J. Veverka, P. Thomas, P. Helfenstein, D. Simonelli, C. Chapman, M. E. Davies, R. Greeley, R. Greenberg, J. Head, S. Murchie, K. Klaasen, T. V. Johnson, A. McEwen, D. Morrison, G. Neukum, F. Fanale, C. Anger, M. Carr, C. Pilcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


Galileo images of Gaspra reveal it to be an irregularly shaped object (19 by 12 by 11 kilometers) that appears to have been created by a catastrophic collisional disruption of a precursor parent body. The cratering age of the surface is about 200 million years. Subtle albedo and color variations appear to correlate with morphological features: Brighter materials are associated with craters especially along the crests of ridges, have a stronger 1-micrometer absorption, and may represent freshly excavated mafic materials; darker materials exhibiting a significantly weaker 1-micrometer absorption appear concentrated in interridge areas. One explanation of these patterns is that Gaspra is covered with a thin regolith and that some of this material has migrated downslope in some areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1652
Number of pages6
Issue number5077
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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