The most geologically diverse asteroid, Vesta shows light and dark features much like our Moon. A giant crater 459 km (285 miles) across is evidence of an impact with another object.
About the same age as the Sun: 4.5 billion years
Solar system, asteroid belt
|Avg. distance from the Sun||
353,400,000 kilometers (219,600,000 miles)
531 kilometers (330 miles)
3 x 1020 kilograms
|Orbital period around the Sun||
3.63 Earth years (1,325 Earth days)
|Number of moons||
"Fast Facts: Asteroid Vesta" is a table that lists the asteroid's age, location, average distance from the Sun, diameter, mass, orbital period around the Sun, number of moons, and distinguishing features. A picture of the asteroid is included.
Use this resource as:
A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.
A large-number recognition activity. Have students review several solar system Fast Fact tables, including this one. Ask them to place the objects described in the Fast Fact tables in order, starting with the object closest to Earth and ending with the one farthest away. Students can arrange the Sun, planets, and asteroids from smallest to largest mass and/or diameter.
A compare/contrast activity. Have students review several Fast Facts tables for asteroids and comets. Students match the asteroids to statements that describe a unique feature of each asteroid, such as: This asteroid is the most geologically diverse, or this asteroid is a near-earth asteroid. Either the teacher or the students can generate the statements using information from the Fast Facts. Students also can create graphic organizers comparing the features of asteroids with those of comets.
An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.
An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.
HubbleSite press release: "Hubble Reveals Huge Crater on the Surface of the Asteroid Vesta"
HubbleSite press release: "NASA Mission to Asteroid Gets Help from Hubble Space Telescope"
Amazing Space resources by topic: Solar system