951 Gaspra is an asteroid that orbits within the main asteroid belt, lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It was discovered on July 30, 1916, by Russian astronomer Grigory Neujmin at the Simeiz Observatory in Crimea. Named after the Crimean town of Gaspra, the asteroid measures approximately 18 kilometers in diameter and has an irregular shape. Gaspra follows an elliptical orbit characterized by a semi-major axis of 2.21 astronomical units, taking around 3.33 years to complete a single revolution around the Sun.
Gaspra's surface composition, as determined by spectral analysis, predominantly consists of ordinary chondrites, which are a type of stony meteorite. Its surface exhibits numerous craters, cliffs, and grooves, suggesting an intriguing geological history. Studies conducted using close-up imagery obtained during the Galileo spacecraft's flyby in 1991 revealed that Gaspra has a more angular and rough appearance than initially anticipated.
The exploration of 951 Gaspra contributed significantly to our understanding of the solar system's early history and evolution. Its unique characteristics and properties provide valuable insights into the processes that shaped asteroids and the formation of planets. The data collected during the Galileo mission allowed scientists to analyze its surface in detail and compare it with other celestial bodies, enhancing our knowledge of the diverse range of objects that constitute our cosmic neighborhood.