|This is the Web Edition of "A Trip Into Space", a Coimbra-based electronic book on space science. Both the texts and the photos are by courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.|
|A Trip Into Space Asteroids Asteroid Ida's Moon Dactyl (In False Color)|
|See also: Asteroid Fact Sheet, Asteroid Ida's Moon Dactyl (In Color), Asteroid Ida's Moon Dactyl - A Natural Satellite|
This color picture is made from images taken by the imaging system on the Galileo spacecraft about 14 minutes before its closest approach to asteroid 243 Ida on August 28, 1993. The range from the spacecraft was about 10,500 kilometers (6,500 miles). The images used are from the sequence in which Ida's moon was originally discovered; the moon is visible to the right of the asteroid.
There are brighter areas, appearing bluish in the picture, around craters on the upper left end of Ida, around the small bright crater near the center of the asteroid, and near the upper right-hand edge (the limb). This is a combination of more reflected blue light and greater absorption of near infrared light, suggesting a difference in the abundance or composition of iron-bearing minerals in these areas. Ida's moon also has a deeper near-infrared absorption and a different color in the violet than any area on this side of Ida.
The moon is not identical in spectral properties to any area of Ida in view here, though its overall similarity in reflectance and general spectral type suggests that it is made of the same rock types basically. These data, combined with the study of further imaging data and more detailed spectra from the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, may allow scientists to determine whether the larger parent body of which Ida, its moon, and some other asteroids are fragments was a heated, differentiated object or made of relatively unaltered primitive chondritic material.
The Galileo project, whose primary mission is the exploration of the Jupiter system in 1995-97, is managed for NASA's Office of Space Science by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Last Update: 2005-Nov-29