Asteroid (25143) Itokawa

25143 IkokawaThis picture of Asteroid 25143 Itokawa comes from the Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft during its close approach in 2005. Itokawa may be a contact binary formed by two or more smaller asteroids that have gravitated toward each other and stuck together. The Hayabusa images show a surprising lack of impact craters and a very rough surface studded with boulders. The asteroid has been described as a “rubble pile.” The asteroid’s density is too low for it to be made from solid rock, meaning that Itokawa is not a monolith but really a “rubble pile” formed from fragments that have been drawn together over time.

Image Credit: JAXA

2 thoughts on “Asteroid (25143) Itokawa

  1. Probably not a good candidate for an impactor mission if it is in essence just vacuum-cemented into its form.

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