951 Gaspra is the first asteroid to be seen close up
when the Galileo spacecraft flew past it at a
distance of 1,600 km, on October 29, 1991, en route to Jupiter.
Gaspra is an S-type asteroid,
a member of the Flora family, elongated
and irregular in shape, and lacking any large craters, which suggests that
it has a comparatively recent origin, most likely from the collisional breakup
of a larger body some 300 to 500 million years ago. It was discovered by
Grigoriy N. Neujamin in 1916 and named after a Russian resort and spa near
Yalta, Crimea, that was visited by contemporaries such as Tolstoy and Gorky.
|An image of Gaspra captured by the Galileo spacecraft,
when it flew by the asteroid on its way to Jupiter on Oct. 29, 1991.
||19 × 12 × 11 km
ASTEROIDS, CENTAURS, AND KUIPER BELT OBJECTS