Center for Meteorite Studies

Padvarninkai fell February 9, 1929, in Adroniski, Lithuania.  Close to 4 kg of material were recovered days after the witnessed fall, and the meteorite was originally classified as a Martian shergottite due to its maskelynite content.  This classification was updated, however, upon further analysis, and Padvarninkai is now classified as a monomict eucrite, part of the Howardite-Eucrite-Diogenite (HED) group of meteorites, believed to have originated on the asteroid 4-Vesta.

Eucrites are the most common type of achondrite meteorite falls (vs. finds) and are believed to form from cooling of magma on the surface of 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.

The extremely detailed images Dawn captured of Vesta’s surface enabled the compilation of high-resolution global geological and tectonic maps of Vesta, recently published in the journal Icarus by a scientific team led by ASU School of Earth & Space Exploration Associate Research Professor David Williams.

After a year orbiting Vesta, Dawn is now headed to a rendezvous with the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt, in  March of this year.  Dawn is one of NASA's Discovery class missions.  Click here  for the latest Dawn mission updates!

 


Category: Meteorites

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