The giant asteroid Vesta is shown here as the smallest body among other similar bodies in the solar system: Mars, Mercury, Earth's moon and the dwarf planet Ceres. With Dawn's findings, Vesta is the only intact layered planetary building block with an iron core known to be remaining since the early days of the solar system. This makes it more like terrestrial planets and Earth's moon than other asteroids.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator