The asteroid's official name is "4 Vesta" because it was the fourth asteroid discovered, on March 29, 1807 by astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, and is named after Vesta, the virgin goddess of home and hearth from Roman mythology. About the length of Arizona, Vesta is the second-most-massive object in the asteroid belt after the dwarf planet Ceres. The less-massive Pallas is slightly larger, making Vesta third in volume.

Vesta has a unique surface feature which scientists enjoyed peering into. Two enormous craters are striking, 310 mile (500 km) wide Rheasilvia, centered near the south pole, and 250 mi (400 km) wide Veneneia. Rheasilvia crater is younger and overlies the Veneneia crater. Its width is 95% of the mean diameter of Vesta and it is about 12 mi deep. Its central peak rises 12-16 miles and it's 100 miles wide, making it compete with Mars' Olympus Mons as the largest mountain the in solar system.

What happened to the one percent of Vesta that was propelled from its home during those impacts? The debris, ranging in size from sand and gravel to boulder and mountain, was ejected into space where it began its own journey through the solar system. Scientist believe that about 5 percent of all meteorites we find on Earth are a result of this ancient impact in deep space.

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