Mathilde: Size, Shape, and Geology

P. C. Thomas, J. Veverka, J. F. Bell, B. E. Clark, B. Carcich, J. Joseph, M. Robinson, L. A. McFadden, M. C. Malin, C. R. Chapman, W. Merline, S. Murchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft images of C-type asteroid Mathilde show it to have a mean radius of 26.5 ± 1.3 km. The asteroid is geologically distinguished by its low mean density (1.3 ± 0.2 g cm-3) and by at least four craters with diameters equal to or greater than Mathilde's mean radius. The large craters and their unremarkable appearance suggest formation without significant damage to the asteroid outside the final crater volume and indicates the ability of at least this type of asteroid to survive very large impacts without disruption. There are suggestions of structures such as faults or layers. Preservation of such structures would imply that objects that are poor transmitters of impact seismic energy can still maintain some mechanical fabric, and their surface exposure may imply inefficient retention of ejecta from large craters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroids
  • Cratering
  • Regolith

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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