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Kapoeta

Kapoeta is a howardite (achondrite) that fell in the Sudan at 7pm on April 22nd, 1942. Only one stone, weighing over 11 kg, was recovered, after falling on the Kapoeta-Nathalani road from which the meteorite takes its name.

Howardites are mainly composed of brecciated eucrite and diogenite pieces, and are believed to form as a result of the burial and lithification of impact ejecta. The HED (Howardite-Eucrite-Diogenite) meteorites have been tentatively matched with a parent body in the asteroid belt; the asteroid 4-Vesta (the number 4 refers to Vesta being the fourth asteroid ever discovered, in March of 1807, by German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers).

In September 2007, NASA launched the Dawn mission to study Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres to provide insight into the formation and evolution of solid bodies in the early solar system, using a visible camera, a visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, and a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. This will also be an opportunity to definitively test the hypothesis that the HED meteorites originated on Vesta and to determine which, if any, meteorites are from Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft is currently en route to the dwarf planet Ceres, after spending a year in orbit around Vesta.

For more information, including photos of Vesta and of the Dawn spacecraft launch, visit NASA’s Dawn Mission website.