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Schematic View of Asteroid (25143) Itokawa

Caption: This is a schematic view of the strange peanut-shaped asteroid Itokawa. By making exquisitely precise timing measurements using ESO's New Technology Telescope, and combining them with a model of the asteroid's surface topography, a team of astronomers has found that different parts of this asteroid have different densities. As well as revealing secrets about the asteroid's formation, finding out what lies below the surface of asteroids may also shed light on what happens when bodies collide in the Solar System, and provide clues about how planets form. The shape model used for this view is based on the images collected by JAXA's Hayabusa spacecraft.

Credit: ESO. Acknowledgement: JAXA

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Related news release: The anatomy of an asteroid

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