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January 21 2013

Meteorite may offer clues on asteroid Vesta's inner life

The cold, dead asteroid Vesta might have had a very active inner life early in the solar system's history, according to an unusual analysis of a Saharan meteorite.

Vesta might have had a magma ocean underneath its rocky exterior, allowing bits of mineral to rise and fall between softer and harder layers of material, according to a study published online Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience. If confirmed, that would make it more like Earth and the solar system's other rocky planets than scientists had realized.

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