Galileo images of Gaspra reveal it to be an irregularly shaped object (19 by 12 by 11 kilometers) that appears to have been created by a catastrophic collisional disruption of a precursor parent body. The cratering age of the surface is about 200 million years. Subtle albedo and color variations appear to correlate with morphological features: Brighter materials are associated with craters especially along the crests of ridges, have a stronger 1-micrometer absorption, and may represent freshly excavated mafic materials; darker materials exhibiting a significantly weaker 1-micrometer absorption appear concentrated in interridge areas. One explanation of these patterns is that Gaspra is covered with a thin regolith and that some of this material has migrated downslope in some areas.
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