It’s easy to assume that, close-up, asteroid must be quite boring — they’re just big lumps of rock, after all. But look at them in infrared, and the things comes alive.
Some minerals in the rocks, you see, reflect certain wavelengths of light more than others. Looking at them in infrared light reveals hidden detail, like in the image above. This crater, Antonia, is on the asteroid Vesta. Light blue areas reveal fine dust ejected from the asteroid’s deep layers when it was hit, while darker areas are large chunks that buried the south end massive hole. And, yeah, it looks super pretty, too. [New Scientist]
Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLAMPS/DLR/IDA